Giants All-Time Great Quarterbacks

As the Giants prepare for the 2019 season the question arises as to when the transition to new rookie quarterback, Daniel Jones, will occur. It got me thinking about Eli Manning and other great Giant quarterbacks. I came up with a query on pro football reference to pull out some of the great quarterbacks that may or may not be recognized in the general population. The career query I used is

Yds/Pass Att >= 6.8 and
Passing Yds/Game >= 120 and
Passing TD % >= 4.3 and
Win % > 50%
Games Started >= 15

The above query yields ten quarterbacks for only the 2018 season:

Drew Brees
Jared Goff
Mitchell Trubisky
Patrick Mahomes
Philip Rivers
Tom Brady
Deshaun Watson
Andrew Luck
Russell Wilson
Ben Roethlisberger

When applied to career statistics since 1920 the query without the Win percentage yielded 96 quarterbacks. Applying a > 50% win percentage narrowed the list to 63 quarterbacks. I removed Bobby Hebert as while he met the criteria for his career he did not meet it on any one team. I added in Super Bowl quarterbacks that did not meet the career criteria but did meet the criteria on one team. They were Jim Plunkett, Jeff Hostetler and Jim McMahon. The final list has 65 unique quarterbacks and seven of those met the criteria on two teams for a total of 72 team instances.

Forty-four of the sixty-five quarterbacks played in a Super Bowl or championship game comprising 68% of the list.  Only seven Super Bowl quarterbacks did not make the list. They were as follows with the reason:

Joe Namath – Win %
Doug Williams – Win %
Troy Aikman – TD % (3.5)
John Elway – TD % (4.1)
Trent Dilfer – TD%, Win %
Brad Johnson – TD% (4.0)
Joe Flacco – Yd/Att (6.7), TD % (3.7)

The breakdown of quarterbacks on the list by teams are

4 with 0 NYJ BAL TEN JAX
7 with 1 ARI ATL BUF CHI DET NOR TAM
9 with 2 CAR CIN DEN HTX KAN MIA NWE SEA WAS
6 with 3 IND GNB MIN PIT SDG SFO
2 with 4 NYG CLE
3 with 5 DAL RAM RAI
1 with 6 PHI

 

Here are the four Giants quarterbacks that met the criteria and are arguably the best Giants quarterbacks in Giant history. it expands on a key achievement or attribute of each quarterback.

Eli Manning – “Easy Eli”

Clutch

Manning is eleventh in career 4th quarter comebacks with 27. He is ninth in career game winning drives with 37.  Eli Manning is tie with Joe Montana for third in post-season game-winning drives with five. He is tie at third for post-season 4th quarter comebacks with four. These statistics are maintained since 1960.

Manning is cool and collected. Nothing seems to rattle him. He will take a beating and keeps fighting. That was how it was in their 2011 drive to a Super Bowl victory. In the NFC Championship game against the 49ers Eli Manning took a total beating. Manning took 18 hits, was knocked down 12 times and sacked six times. The game was tie at 17-17 after the fourth quarter and went to overtime. The Giants win on a field goal following a forced fumble on the 49ers punt return.

The next game, Super Bowl XLVI, the Giants were down 15-17 when they got the ball at their 12 yard line with 3:46 left to play. On the first play of the drive Manning completes a career perfect pass to Mario Manningham near the sideline for a 38 yard gain. Manning then went on to complete 4 of 5 passes for another 36 yards. Interspersed were two Ahmad Bradshaw runs for eight yards. The drive was capped off by a six yard touchdown run by Bradshaw which the Patriots allowed to get the ball back with 0:57 left to play. The Giants held the Patriots and orchestrated one of the greatest Super Bowl 4th quarter comebacks.

Relatively recently in the 2016 season Manning had six game winning drives which was third best in the league.

Eli Manning

Precise , Accurate

Manning leads Giants quarterbacks in career completion percentage for quarterbacks with 300+ attempts. He has a career 60.3% completion percentage. Manning has a decent completion percentage on a high volume of career passing attempts. Of the 38 active quarterbacks with 300+ career passing attempts and a 60% or better completion percentage, Eli Manning is sixteenth in passing yards per game. Manning is fourth in Super Bowl completion percentage (75% in XLVI) and fourth in career Super Bowl completion percentage (66.2%). Eli’s last five seasons have a completion percentage above his career average and in 2018 Eli had a career high 66% completion percentage. That was good for 16th in the league. In December 2018 Manning was in the top ten for most throws 20+ yards downfield. He had the highest completion percentage for those throws on the list.

According to Pro Football Focus, in 2018 Eli had 75.8% of his passes as catch-able which was fifth best in the league.  Pro Football Focus also reports that Manning had a 76.2% adjusted completion percentage on third downs which was fourth in the league.

Phil Simms – “Tough as nails”

Tough

First let me say that most NFL quarterbacks or even players are tough. The Giants have a long history of tough quarterbacks including Charlie Conerly, Y.A. Tittle, Phil Simms and Eli Manning. I highlight Phil Simms as tough because that was one of his more outstanding attributes, whereas other tough Giant quarterbacks had other more outstanding achievements or attributes.

Simms was known for standing in the pocket to that last second to let the receivers get open and taking the hit. He is sixth all-time in times sacked (477). Of the top 100 quarterback all-time leaders in taking sacks Simms ranks tenth in sacks per games started with three. He leads all Giants in sacks per game for quarterbacks with 10+ career starts. (One note is that sack totals were not kept prior to 1965. So players such as Y.A. Tittle and Charlie Conerly are not in those calculations.)

When strength coach Johnny Parker introduced a new heavy lifting weight training program to the team, Phil Simms approached him and said he wanted to work with him. Parkman responded that he hadn’t developed a program for the quarterbacks yet. To which Simms responded that he wanted to do what everyone else was doing. So Simms was working out in the weight room with the linemen.

Simms was also mentally tough. He endured many boos starting with his draft selection and continuing through much of his career. He was always a backup quarterback away from being benched. He did not let that phase him. Phil battled thru injuries and missed 36 games due to injury in his first 5 seasons (including all of 1982). Yet he went on to lead the Giants to their first Super Bowl victory in Super Bowl XXI. Phil Simms holds the record for the highest passer rating in a Super Bowl, at 150.92 in that Super Bowl. He went on to lead the Giants up to another Super Bowl before getting injured and replaced by Jeff Hostetler. Hostetler went on to help win the Giants second Super Bowl.

Phil Simms and Charlie Conerly are the two best Giant rookie quarterbacks. Phil Simms holds the record for Super Bowl Passer Rating (150.9) and Pass Completion Percentage (88%).

Phil did not have a nickname so I used a quote from Bill Parcells:

“Phil is the type of guy who you always want on your side because he’s as tough as nails, He’s got that soft blond fluffy hair, but you wouldn’t want to mess with him….”

Y.A. Tittle – “Old Reliable”

Bottom Line Guy

Y.A. Tittle has the highest win percentage (67%) among Giants quarterbacks and also the highest touchdowns per game at 2 touchdowns per game.  Tittle threw an NFL-record 33 touchdown passes in 1962 and then a year later threw for 36. The 1963 record stood until Dan Marino broke it in 1984.  Tittle had a 7.3% touchdowns to pass attempts for his four years on the Giants. Not only is that the best in Giants history but it would be third best among career TD% except the Giants was not all of Tittle’s career. Of the top 100 quarterbacks for career wins Tittle’s 66.67% win percentage while on the Giants would rank 12th in career win percentage. Of course Tittle’s career spanned more than just his four years on the Giants. His career win percentage puts him at 64th on the list. Tittle’s best years were on the Giants. In his four years on the Giants he led the team to three consecutive Championship Games. Unfortunately the were unable to win them.

Tittle was another tough player. He played through numerous injuries in his lifetime including a broken toe, a separated shoulder, a broken cheekbone, a broken arm, broken ribs and a cracked sternum. Tittle would stand in the pocket and take a hit not worried about the onslaught of defensive players but focused on his receivers downfield.

Charlie Conerly – “Chuckin Charlie Conerly”

Passing Touchdown %

When Charlie Conerly was a little boy in Mississippi he wanted to play professional football for the New York Giants when he grew up. Conerly would go on to go to Ole Miss where he started at quarterback in 1942. After the 1942 season he enrolled in the Marines during World War II and fought in the battle of Guam. He had a rifle shot out of his hands by a Japanese sniper. While in the South Pacific Charlie received word that the Redskins had drafted him as his class had graduated and he was eligible for the draft. After the War Charlie returned to Ole Miss in 1946 at the age of 25. He played two more seasons at Ole Miss where he led the Rebels to their first Southeastern Conference championship. That year he was a Consensus All-American and First Team All-SEC.

The Redskins traded Conerly to the Giants where Conerly played his rookie season in 1948 at the age of 27. Conerly was named 1948 NFL Rookie of the Year. He led all rookie quarterbacks that year in completions, touchdown passes and passing yards per game. Conerly and Phil Simms are the two best Giants rookie quarterbacks.

Like the other quarterbacks listed here, Charlie Conerly was tough. Sacks were not kept as a statistic back in Charlie’s time. However he had poor O-line protection for a lot of his years. In a 1952 game against the Eagles, Conerly was sacked 17 times. At age 32 Charlie retired. But new head coach Jim Howell promised Charlie to get better protection for him and convinced Charlie to return. During his rookie season, Frank Gifford watched Conerly suffer a terrible injury—and stay in the game:

He broke his nose really badly, they literally called a timeout and then they called another one while they stopped the bleeding, they stuck stuff up there until it would stop bleeding.

Charlie Conerly is first among Giant quarterbacks in career yards per completion (minimum 1500 attempts).  In his fourteen year career on the Giants Conerly was in the top ten in yards per completion in the league for eleven seasons. He was number one in 1959 with 15.1 yards.  He is number 26 on the all-time yards per completion record list with 13.7 yards. No current quarterback has a better career yards per completion.

Charlie Conerly is number nine on the all-time league TD percentage list. That is the percent of touchdown passes per pass attempts. Aaron Rodgers is the only current quarterback with a better percentage. Conerly is number one on the Giants list for TD % (minimum 1500 attempts).  Y.A. Tittle has a higher percent but only 1308 attempts.

Charlie Conerly was the oldest winner of the NFL MVP award receiving it in 1959 at the age of 38. Conerly stood as the oldest recipient until Tom Brady won the award in 2018.  He was the oldest quarterback to play in the NFL at 40 in 1961. He held that distinction until Earl Morrall took in 1976 at age 42. Charlie Conerly was a three-time All Pro quarterback. He guided the Giants to the NFL championship game three times and was a winner once. Many have said Chuckin Charlie Conerly is the best quarterback not in the Hall Of Fame.

In Conclusion

Here is the full list of quarterbacks that met the criteria sorted by team – QB Criteria. The quarterbacks that appeared in a Super Bowl or Championship Game are highlighted in yellow.

The Giants have a good history of great quarterbacks. These guys generally fit a type of tough leaders. Some have been quiet lead by example guys like Charlie Conerly and Eli Manning. All four have been tough players that played through whatever adversity came their way. I would consider them blue collar lunch pail type guys in the Giants tradition. The Giants new rookie quarterback, Daniel Jones, seem to fit that mold like Eli did. It is an exciting time for the franchise as one great quarterback attempts another shot at the playoffs and a new rookie practices for a future hand-off of the quarterback position.

2019 Rookie Defensive Players And The Rookie Records

Today I look at rookie records for defensive statistics. Who are the historical leaders and the top ten rookies? Also I examine the top ten 2019 in college season performance. Then I project a 2019 rookie leader for each statistic. Without further ado here are the leaders both historical and projected.

Sacks

Defensive end Jevon Kearse is the rookie record holder for sacks with 14.5 obtained in 1999 on the Titans. Hall-Of-Famer Reggie White is tie at at third with thirteen.

Rk Player Year Age Tm Pos G GS Sk Solo Ast Comb TFL QBHits
1 Jevon Kearse 1999 23 TEN DE 16 16 14.5 48 9 57 15
2 Aldon Smith 2011 22 SFO DE 16 0 14 31 6 37 13 27
3 Dwight Freeney 2002 22 IND DE 16 8 13 40 1 41 20
4 Reggie White* 1985 24 PHI DE 13 12 13 100 0 100
5 Leslie O’Neal 1986 22 SDG DE 13 13 12.5 82 0 82
6 Simeon Rice 1996 22 ARI DE 16 15 12.5 42 10 52
7 Mark Anderson 2006 23 CHI DE 16 1 12 23 5 28 9 9
8 Bradley Chubb 2018 22 DEN DE 16 16 12 41 19 60 14 21
9 Charles Haley* 1986 22 SFO DE 16 1 12 59 0 59
10 Julius Peppers 2002 22 CAR DE 12 12 12 28 7 35 11
11 Terrell Suggs 2003 21 BAL DE 16 1 12 19 8 27 9

 

Defensive end Jaylon Ferguson on the Ravens leads all rookie players in college sacks with 17.5 obtained in 2018. He is also fourth on the list with 14.5 obtained in 2016. He is followed closely by Josh Allen who had 17 sacks in 2018. Oshane Ximines was tie for eighth but had the highest team market share of sacks with 52% of Old Dominion sacks in 2018. Sutton Smith was the only other player besides Ferguson to make the the top ten twice.

The Jaguars have two strong sack leaders in defensive end Yannick Ngakoue  and Calais Campbell. They were one of four teams to have two players in the top 23 for sacks. Campbell had 28% of his team’s sacks and Ngakoue had 26%. However out of the four teams that had two players in the top 23 the Jaguars had the lowest total sacks with a combined 20.  Out of the top 23 players for sacks in 2018 the Jaguars did have two players but they were at 19 and 23.  Ngakoue and Campbell were in on 75% and 80% of the defensive snaps. I project Josh Allen to get 50% of the snap counts and seven sacks.

The Ravens do not have anyone that stands out that much for sacks. They lost lead sack players Za’Darius Smith to the Packers and Terrell Suggs to the Cardinals. Their next leading sack players Matt Judon had seven sacks and accounted for just 13% of the team sacks. Ferguson should take a lead role and get roughly 70% of the defensive snaps. I project him to have eight sacks.

Montez Sweat looks like a likely candidate to be a starter on the Redskins. He was sixth on the list of top ten for sacks in college with 12 in 2018. Sweat had a very respectable 29% team market share of sacks each of the last two seasons. Other than weighing less than a typical edge rusher, Sweat has very good physical characteristics for height, wingspan and arm length. Other than the bench press, Sweat met all defensive end target goals at the combine drills. He was first among edge rushers in the forty.

I project Montez Sweat to lead all rookies in sacks. He should be a starting outside linebacker and fill in for free agency loss Preston Smith with roughly 80% of the defensive snaps. Montez Sweat can hit ten and a half sacks.

Rk Player Year Class School Team G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk
2 Jaylon Ferguson 2018 SR Louisiana Tech BAL 13 38 27 65 26 17.5
4 Josh Allen 2018 SR Kentucky JAX 13 56 32 88 21.5 17.0
8 Sutton Smith 2018 JR Northern Illinois PIT 14 43 18 61 26.5 15.0
10 Jaylon Ferguson 2016 SO Louisiana Tech 14 27 22 49 14 14.5
11 Sutton Smith 2017 SO Northern Illinois 13 43 20 63 30 14.0
26 Nate Harvey 2018 SR East Carolina NYG 12 42 19 61 24.5 12.0
27 Montez Sweat 2018 SR Mississippi State WAS 13 27 26 53 14.5 12.0
29 Clelin Ferrell 2018 JR Clemson OAK 15 29 26 55 20 11.5
35 Oshane Ximines 2018 SR Old Dominion NYG 12 31 27 58 18 11.5
36 Maxx Crosby 2017 SO Eastern Michigan OAK 12 31 26 57 16.5 11.0
41 Jachai Polite 2018 JR Florida NYJ 13 27 18 45 19.5 11.0
45 Landis Durham 2017 JR Texas A&M LAR 13 29 26 55 11 10.5

Solo Tackles

Linebacker Chris Spielman holds the rookie record of solo tackles with 153 he obtained in the Lions in 1988. The last time someone cracked the top ten was in 2007  when Patrck willis on the 49ers had 135.

Rk Player Year Tm Pos G GS Sk Solo Ast Comb TFL QBHits
1 Chris Spielman 1988 DET LB 16 16 0 153 0 153
2 Duane Bickett 1985 IND LB 16 16 6 141 0 141
3 Ray Childress 1985 HOU DT 16 16 3.5 135 0 135
4 Patrick Willis 2007 SFO LB 16 16 4 135 39 174 8 7
5 Darion Conner 1990 ATL LB 16 7 2 133 0 133
6 Steve Atwater 1989 DEN DB 16 16 0 129 0 129
7 Rickey Jackson* 1981 NOR LB 16 16 0 125 0 125
8 DeMeco Ryans 2006 HOU LB 16 16 3.5 125 30 155 13 9
9 Dave Whitmore 1990 NYG DB 16 0 0 123 0 123
10 Mark Carrier 1990 CHI DB 16 16 0 122 0 122

 

Linebacker Joe Dineen led all 2019 rookies in college solo tackles with 109 obtained in 2018. He is again in the top ten at number four with 89 solo tackles in 2017. Dineen also led all linebacker draft prospects in solo tackle team market share with 19% in 2018.  He also had a strong showing in 2017 with 15% team market share of solo tackles.

Linebacker Devin White was fifth among linebacker draft prospects in team market share of solo tackles with a 15% in 2018 and 62 solo tackles.  Wile the number of solo tackles does not approach the numbers put up by other players his team market share was impressive. White is the lead candidate to be a starting linebacker in 2019. According to Ourlads.com depth charts the lead rookie candidates to get the starting nod in 2019 are Devin White and Devin Bush.

The top 10 rookies for solo tackles in 2018 averaged a 12% team market share,  the top five had 13% and the top rookie had 15%. I project Devin White to average as the top five from last year to achieve 100 solo tackles and lead all rookies.

Rk Player Year Class School Team POS G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk
1 Joe Dineen 2018 SR Kansas DEN LB 12 109 33 142 10.5 3
4 Ben Burr-Kirven 2018 SR Washington SEA LB 14 94 82 176 5.5 2
7 Jordan Kunaszyk 2018 SR California CAR LB 13 92 51 143 10 4
10 Joe Dineen 2017 JR Kansas 12 89 44 133 22 2.5
21 Jahlani Tavai 2016 SO Hawaii DET LB 14 85 43 128 19.5 6
23 Andrew Wingard 2015 FR Wyoming JAX S 12 83 39 122 7 0
37 David Long 2018 JR West Virginia TEN LB 12 79 29 108 19.5 7
49 Adarius Pickett 2018 SR UCLA LAC S 12 77 46 123 0 0
61 Sione Takitaki 2018 SR Brigham Young CLE LB 13 75 44 119 10 4
63 Andrew Wingard 2016 SO Wyoming 14 75 56 131 7.5 2
74 T.J. Edwards 2018 SR Wisconsin PHI LB 13 73 39 112 11.5 3
81 Marcus Epps 2016 SO Wyoming MIN S 14 72 39 111 6 0

Tackles For Loss

Linebacker Kendrell Bell holds the record for rookie tackles for loss with 23 set in 2001 on the Steelers. The record for tackles for loss only goes back to 1999. Joey Bosa was the most recent rookie to break the top ten with 17 tackles for loss in 2016. Aaron Donald is the only defensive tackle in the top ten holding fifth place with 18 TFLs set in 2014.

Rk Player Year Age Draft Tm Pos G GS Sk Solo Ast Comb TFL QBHits
1 Kendrell Bell 2001 23 2-39 PIT LB 16 16 9 70 13 83 23
2 Lavonte David 2012 22 2-58 TAM OLB 16 16 2 112 27 139 20 5
3 Dwight Freeney 2002 22 1-11 IND DE 16 8 13 40 1 41 20
4 Von Miller 2011 22 1-2 DEN LB 15 15 11.5 50 14 64 19 29
5 Aaron Donald 2014 23 1-13 STL DT 16 12 9 37 10 47 18 13
6 Joey Bosa 2016 21 1-3 SDG DE 12 11 10.5 29 12 41 17 21
7 Clay Matthews 2009 23 1-26 GNB LB 16 13 10 36 14 50 17 21
8 Courtney Brown 2000 22 1-1 CLE DE 16 16 4.5 61 8 69 16
9 Khalil Mack 2014 23 1-5 OAK OLB 16 16 4 59 16 75 16 12
10 Brian Urlacher* 2000 22 1-9 CHI LB 16 14 8 101 24 125 16

 

Sutton Smith on the Steelers holds the top two spots among 2019 rookies for college tackles for loss set over the last two seasons. Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver is the only defensive tackle in the top ten. He is tie for sixth place with 22 tackles for loss set his freshman season. In 2018 Oliver had 14.5 tackles for loss in only eight games he played. That came out to 1.81 TFLs per game which would be fifth best in the FBS across all positions except the records on cfbstats.com only count if player was in 75% of the team games. I project Oliver to get 14 tackles for loss and lead all rookies.

Rk Player Year Class School Team Pos G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk
1 Sutton Smith 2017 SO Northern Illinois PIT LB 13 43 20 63 30.0 14
3 Sutton Smith 2018 JR Northern Illinois 14 43 18 61 26.5 15
4 Jaylon Ferguson 2018 SR Louisiana Tech BAL LB 13 38 27 65 26.0 17.5
5 E.J. Ejiya 2018 SR North Texas BAL LB 13 61 60 121 25.5 9
6 Nate Harvey 2018 SR East Carolina NYG LB 12 42 19 61 24.5 12
14 Joe Dineen 2017 JR Kansas DEN LB 12 89 44 133 22.0 2.5
15 Chase Hansen 2018 SR Utah NOR LB 12 70 44 114 22.0 5
17 Ed Oliver 2016 FR Houston BUF DT 12 46 19 65 22.0 5
18 Josh Allen 2018 SR Kentucky JAX LB 13 56 32 88 21.5 17
31 Clelin Ferrell 2018 JR Clemson OAK DE 15 29 26 55 20.0 11.5
39 David Long 2018 JR West Virginia TEN LB 12 79 29 108 19.5 7

Quarterback Hits

Outside Linebacker Von Miller leads all rookies in quarterback hits for the 29 he amassed his rookie year in 2011 on the Broncos. Quarterback hits statistics only go back to 2006. Bradley Chubb is the latest to make the top ten coming in tie at number four with 21 he had in 2018. Here are the top ten rookie records for quarterback hits.

Rk Player Year Age Draft Tm POS G GS Sk Solo Ast Comb TFL QBHits
1 Von Miller 2011 22 1-2 DEN LB 15 15 11.5 50 14 64 19 29
2 Aldon Smith 2011 22 1-7 SFO DE 16 0 14 31 6 37 13 27
3 Kamerion Wimbley 2006 23 1-13 CLE DE 16 15 11 44 18 62 13 26
4 Joey Bosa 2016 21 1-3 SDG DE 12 11 10.5 29 12 41 17 21
5 Bradley Chubb 2018 22 1-5 DEN DE 16 16 12 41 19 60 14 21
6 Carl Lawson 2017 22 4-116 CIN DE 16 1 8.5 10 6 16 8 21
7 Clay Matthews 2009 23 1-26 GNB LB 16 13 10 36 14 50 17 21
8 Leonard Williams 2015 21 1-6 NYJ DT 16 15 3 29 34 63 7 21
9 Bruce Irvin 2012 25 1-15 SEA DE 16 0 8 10 7 17 6 19
10 J.J. Watt 2011 22 1-11 HOU DE 16 16 5.5 48 8 56 13 19
11 Deatrich Wise 2017 23 4-131 NWE DE 16 3 5 16 10 26 6 19

 

Here are the top rookies for pressuring the quarterback. They are sorted by draft round, depth chart position and sum.  Sum is a sum of scores for being in the top  third for each statistic. The top three are given 3 points (yellow), next three are two points (blue) and the next three are one point (orange). Josh Allen and Quinnen Williams are the top candidates with opportunity (depth position), market evaluation (round) and production (sum).

On the depth chart Josh Allen sits behind Yannick Ngakoue. Ngakoue is a three year player that made the 2016 All-Rookie Team, the 2017 Pro Bowl and the 2018 NFL Top 100 List.

Defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is much more likely to win the starting role earlier in the season.  No defensive tackle is in the top ten of rookie records for quarterback hits. In 2014 defensive tackle Aaron Donald just missed leading all rookies in quarterback hits. He had 13 and the leader had 14. In 2010 defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh led all rookies in quarterback hits with 17.

At his combine Quinnen Williams ran the fastest forty (4.83) by a 300 lb defensive player over the last seven years. His broad jump (112) was third best among defensive players in 2019 and tie for 13th best since 2000 among defensive players of300+ lbs. Williams is an Outland Trophy winner and a unanimous First Team All-American.  Among top defensive players in 2018 he is third in quarterback hits, fourth in sacks plus hits and eighth in pressures. He has the opportunity, athleticism and production to be the top rookie in quarterback hits. I project Williams to have 14 quarterback hits.

Player Round depth Team Position Hits Sacks Sacks + Hits Pressures Sum
Clelin Ferrell 1 1 OAK DE 11.0 13.0 24.0 56 5
Devin White 1 1 TAM LB 10.0 3.0 13.0 33
Christian Wilkins 1 1 MIA DT 6.0 5.5 11.5 46
Dexter Lawrence 1 1 NYG DT 10.0 1.5 11.5 33
Josh Allen 1 2 JAX DE 12.0 17.0 29.0 57 9
Quinnen Williams 1 2 NYJ NT 16.0 10.0 26.0 55 7
Brian Burns 1 2 CAR DE 9.0 8.0 17.0 67 3
Montez Sweat 1 2 WAS OLB 9.0 12.0 21.0 47 2
Ed Oliver 1 2 BUF DT 9.0 3.0 12.0 26
Devin Bush 1 2 PIT LB 5.0 6.0 11.0 20
Jerry Tillery 1 3 LAC DT 7.0 8.0 15.0 47
Taylor Rapp 2 2 LAR S 5.0 11
Oshane Ximines 3 2 NYG OLB 14.0 11.5 25.5 47 6
Dre’Mont Jones 3 2 DEN DE 16.5 8.5 25.0 52 6
Zach Allen 3 2 ARI DE 18.0 6.5 24.5 59 6
Jaylon Ferguson 3 3 BAL OLB 15.0 17.5 32.5 64 11
Jachai Polite 3 3 NYJ OLB 6.0 11.0 17.0 41 1
Chase Winovich 3 4 NWE DE 14.0 5.0 19.0 52 2
Greg Gaines 4 2 LAR NT 9.0 4.5 13.5 45
Maxx Crosby 4 3 OAK DE 7.0 7.5 14.5 55 1
Joe Jackson 5 DAL DE 13.5 8.5 22.0 54 3
Ben Burr-Kirven 5 SEA LB 2.0 19
Sutton Smith 6 3 PIT OLB 12.0 15.0 27.0 65 10
Gerald Willis III UND 3 BAL DT 5.0 4.0 9.0 26
T.J. Edwards UND PHI LB 3.0 3.0 6.0 17
Malik Reed 3 DEN LB 8.0 56 1

Total Tackles

Linebacker Patrick Willis holds the rookie record for total tackles with 174 in 2007 on the 49ers. Just last year rookie Darius Leonard on the Colts moved into third place with 163 tackles.

Rk Player Year Age Draft Tm pos G GS Sk Solo Ast Comb TFL QBHits
1 Patrick Willis 2007 22 1-11 SFO LB 16 16 4 135 39 174 8 7
2 Luke Kuechly 2012 21 1-9 CAR ILB 16 16 1 103 62 165 12 1
3 Darius Leonard 2018 23 2-36 IND LB 15 15 7 111 52 163 12 8
4 Kiko Alonso 2013 23 2-46 BUF ILB 16 16 2 87 72 159 11 1
5 DeMeco Ryans 2006 22 2-33 HOU LB 16 16 3.5 125 30 155 13 9
6 Zach Thomas 1996 23 5-154 MIA LB 16 16 2 120 34 154
7 Chris Spielman 1988 23 2-29 DET LB 16 16 0 153 0 153
8 C.J. Mosley 2014 22 1-17 BAL ILB 16 16 3 99 52 151 8 12
9 Jerrell Freeman 2012 26 IND LB 16 16 2 90 55 145 7 2
10 Duane Bickett 1985 23 1-5 IND LB 16 16 6 141 0 141

 

Linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven led all rookies in college total tackles with 176 he got in 2018. Buccaneer linebacker Devin White is tie in seventh with 133 tackles he got in 2017. White also had 123 total tackles in 2018. Devin White led all linebackers in the forty at the combine with a 4.42. White met seven of eight combine drill targets for inside linebacker missing only the bench press by two reps. I put Devin White’s projected total tackles at 130 – just a tackle above the average top rookie total tackles over the last ten years.

Rk Player Year Class Team Round Pos Depth G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk
1 Ben Burr-Kirven 2018 SR SEA 5 LB 14 94 82 176 5.5 2
10 Azeez Al-Shaair 2017 JR SFO Und LB 3 13 71 75 146 10 2.5
13 Jordan Kunaszyk 2018 SR CAR Und LB 4 13 92 51 143 10 4
15 Curtis Bolton 2018 SR GNB Und LB 3 14 58 84 142 12 4.5
16 Joe Dineen 2018 SR DEN Und LB 3 12 109 33 142 10.5 3
21 Ulysees Gilbert III 2017 JR PIT 6 LB 3 14 65 75 140 9.5 4
32 Joe Dineen 2017 JR 12 89 44 133 22 2.5
37 Devin White 2017 SO TAM 1 LB 1 13 37 96 133 13.5 4.5
46 Andrew Wingard 2016 SO JAX Und S 3 14 75 56 131 7.5 2
50 Josh Watson 2018 SR DEN Und LB 3 12 55 75 130 7.5 0
59 Jahlani Tavai 2016 SO DET 2 LB 2 14 85 43 128 19.5 6

Interceptions

“Night Train” Lane leads all rookies in interceptions with fourteen in twelve games in 1952. His 68 career interceptions still rankd fourth in NFL history.  There is a six way tie at the tenth position for rookie interceptions at 10 interceptions.

Rk Player Year Age Draft Tm pos G GS Int Yds TD PD
1 Night Train Lane* 1952 24 RAM DB 12 12 14 298 2
2 Dan Sandifer 1948 21 5-28 WAS DB 12 7 13 258 2
3 Paul Krause* 1964 22 2-18, 12-89AFL WAS DB 14 14 12 140 1
4 Woodley Lewis 1950 25 8-103 RAM DB 12 12 12 275 0
5 Don Doll 1949 23 9-67 DET DB 12 1 11 301 1
6 Goose Gonsoulin 1960 22 17-203 DEN DB 14 14 11 98 0
7 Otto Schnellbacher 1948 25 25-231 NYY DB 14 1 11 239 1
8 Everson Walls 1981 22 DAL DB 16 12 11 133 0
9 Lem Barney* 1967 22 2-34 DET DB 14 14 10 232 3
10 Mark Carrier 1990 22 1-6 CHI DB 16 16 10 39 0
11 Irv Comp 1943 24 3-23 GNB B 9 2 10 149 1
12 Milt Davis 1957 28 8-97 BAL DB 12 12 10 219 2
13 Anthony Henry 2001 25 4-97 CLE DB 16 2 10 177 1 17
14 Tommy Morrow 1962 24 OAK DB 14 10 141 0

 

The rookie leaders in college interceptions in a season are a pair of undrafted free agents – cornerback Hamp Cheevers and safety Lukas Denis. The next two at six interceptions and not buried on the depth chart are second round picks safety Juan Thornhill and cornerback Greedy Williams. Greedy Williams had 50% team market share of interceptions in 2017 with six interceptions. He had an interception in his first NFL game in the preseason. Thornhill and Williams are both ball-hawks. However over the last 10 seasons the top rookie for interceptions was a cornerback nine out of the ten years. I go with Greedy Williams to lead the rookies in interceptions with a projected five interceptions.

Rk Player Year Class Team Pos Depth Round G Int Yds TD PD
8 Hamp Cheevers 2018 JR ATL CB Und 12 7 135 1 7
10 Lukas Denis 2017 JR TAM S 3 Und 13 7 185 0 10
21 Nate Brooks 2018 SR ARI CB 3 Und 13 6 15 0 10
27 Clifton Duck 2017 SO CHI CB 4 Und 12 6 103 0 6
45 Mark McLaurin 2017 JR NYG S IR Und 13 6 85 0 6
57 Juan Thornhill 2018 SR KAN S 2 2 13 6 141 0 7
58 Greedy Williams 2017 FR CLE CB 2 2 13 6 32 0 10
66 Sean Bunting 2017 SO TAM CB 2 2 13 5 19 0 5
72 Clifton Duck 2016 FR 13 5 52 1 8
76 Kemon Hall 2018 SR LAC CB 6 Und 11 5 60 2 14
77 Montre Hartage 2016 SO MIA S 4 Und 13 5 70 0 9
83 Jawuan Johnson 2017 JR SEA S Und 13 5 85 2 3
95 Kareem Orr 2015 FR TEN CB 3 Und 10 5 73 1 2
110 Tre Watson 2018 SR MIA LB 2 Und 12 5 46 1 3
118 Andrew Wingard 2017 JR JAX S 3 Und 13 5 54 0 3

Forced Fumbles

Defensive End Dwight Freeney holds the rookie record for forced fumbles with nine in 2002 on the Colts. Flacons safety Keanu Neal was the last rookie to break the top ten with five forced fumbles in 2016.

Rk Player Year Age Draft Tm pos G GS Fmb FR Yds TD FF
1 Dwight Freeney 2002 22 1-11 IND DE 16 8 0 1 0 0 9
2 Jevon Kearse 1999 23 1-16 TEN DE 16 16 0 1 14 1 8
3 Stylez G. White 2007 28 7-229 TAM DE 16 2 0 2 0 0 7
4 Alec Ogletree 2013 22 1-30 STL OLB 16 16 0 0 0 0 6
5 Will Smith 2004 23 1-18 NOR DE 16 4 0 1 -1 0 6
6 Cornelius Bennett 1987 22 1-2 BUF LB 8 7 0 0 0 0 5
7 Tony Brackens 1996 22 2-33 JAX DE 16 1 0 3 0 0 5
8 Mark Carrier 1990 22 1-6 CHI DB 16 16 0 2 16 0 5
9 Tamba Hali 2006 23 1-20 KAN DE 16 16 0 1 0 0 5
10 Dwight Lowery 2008 22 4-113 NYJ DB 16 10 0 0 0 0 5
11 Keanu Neal 2016 21 1-17 ATL FS 14 14 0 1 0 0 5
12 Julius Peppers 2002 22 1-2 CAR DE 12 12 0 0 0 0 5
13 Jabaal Sheard 2011 22 2-37 CLE DL 16 16 0 1 5 0 5
14 Terrell Suggs 2003 21 1-10 BAL LB 16 1 0 4 7 0 5
15 Odell Thurman 2005 22 2-48 CIN LB 16 15 0 1 23 0 5

 

Linebacker Jachai Polite of the Jets leads all rookies in college season of forced fumbles with six in 2018. First round pick defensive end Josh Allen is tie at second with five in 2018. Allen appears again tie at seventh with four forced fumbles in 2016. He joins Maxx Crosby, Malik Reed and Oshane Ximines as players that appear with two seasons. Of those players Allen and Ximines are highest on their team depth chart at second. Allen and Ximines have the same eleven forced fumbles over three years. However Ximines did it with less games and had a low of only three in a season. Whereas in 2017 Allen had only two forced fumbles.  I project Oshane Ximines to lead rookies in forced fumbles with four.

Rk Player Year Class Team Round Pos Depth G FR TD FF
7 Jachai Polite 2018 JR NYJ 3 OLB 3 13 0 6
8 Josh Allen 2018 SR JAX 1 DE 2 13 2 5
10 Malik Carney 2018 SR DET UND OLB 3 8 2 1 5
20 Justin Hollins 2018 SR DEN 5 LB 2 13 1 5
21 Jawuan Johnson 2017 JR SEA UND LB 13 1 5
23 Jordan Kunaszyk 2018 SR CAR UND LB 4 13 1 5
38 Josh Allen 2016 SO 13 0 4
46 Ben Burr-Kirven 2018 SR SEA 5 LB 14 3 4
50 Maxx Crosby 2018 JR OAK 4 DE 3 12 1 4
51 Maxx Crosby 2017 SO 12 2 1 4
61 Cole Holcomb 2018 SR WAS 5 LB 2 11 0 4
78 Malik Reed 2018 SR DEN UND LB 3 13 2 1 4
79 Malik Reed 2017 JR 9 0 4
85 Sutton Smith 2018 JR PIT 6 OLB 3 14 3 1 4
94 D’Andre Walker 2018 SR TEN 5 OLB 3 12 1 4
97 Ladarius Wiley 2018 SR TEN UND S 3 13 0 4
102 Jordan Wyatt 2016 SO NOR UND CB 12 1 4
103 Oshane Ximines 2018 SR NYG 3 LB 2 12 0 4
104 Oshane Ximines 2017 JR 12 0 4

Passes Defended

Cornerback Marcus Peters holds the rookie record for passes defended with twenty-six in 2015 on the Chiefs.

Rk Player Year Age Draft Tm pos G GS Int Yds TD PD
1 Marcus Peters 2015 22 1-18 KAN CB 16 16 8 280 2 26
2 Brandon Browner 2011 27 SEA CB 16 16 6 220 2 23
3 Ronald Darby 2015 21 2-50 BUF CB 15 15 2 48 0 21
4 Chris McAlister 1999 22 1-10 BAL DB 16 12 5 28 0 21
5 Casey Hayward 2012 23 2-62 GNB DB 16 7 6 81 0 20
6 Johnathan Joseph 2006 22 1-24 CIN DB 16 9 0 0 0 20
7 Terence Newman 2003 25 1-5 DAL DB 16 16 4 23 0 20
8 Marcus Trufant 2003 23 1-11 SEA DB 16 16 2 21 0 20
9 Delvin Breaux 2015 26 NOR CB 16 16 3 22 0 19
10 Marcus Cooper 2013 23 7-252 KAN CB 16 6 3 32 0 19
11 Rodney Heath 1999 25 CIN DB 16 9 3 72 1 19
12 Dunta Robinson 2004 22 1-10 HOU DB 16 16 6 146 0 19
13 Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie 2008 22 1-16 ARI DB 16 11 4 157 1 19

 

Safety Julian Love leads all rookies in college passes defended in a season. He holds both the first and second spot with 20 passes defended in 2017 and 16 in 2018.  He is listed at two on the Giants depth chart behind 35 year old veteran Antoine Bethea. I project Love to lead all rookies in passes defended with 12.

Rk Player Year Class Team Round Depth Pos G Int Yds TD PD
5 Julian Love 2017 SO NYG 4 2 S 13 3 153 2 20
23 Julian Love 2018 JR 13 1 4 0 16
33 Kris Boyd 2018 SR MIN 7 4 CB 13 0 0 0 15
34 Kris Boyd 2017 JR 12 2 70 0 15
40 Justin Layne 2018 JR PIT 3 3 CB 12 1 6 0 15
41 Donnie Lewis 2018 SR CLE 7 5 CB 13 3 49 1 15
51 Blessuan Austin 2016 SO NYJ 6 4 CB 11 1 0 0 14
54 Kemon Hall 2018 SR LAC UND 6 CB 11 5 60 2 14
59 Dakari Monroe 2018 SR KAN UND 4 CB 12 4 88 1 14
72 Saquan Hampton 2018 SR NOR 6 S 12 3 3 0 13
87 Joejuan Williams 2018 JR NWE 2 4 CB 13 4 8 0 13
98 Xavier Crawford 2018 JR HOU 6 4 CB 11 1 0 0 12
105 Tae Hayes 2017 JR JAX UND CB 13 4 75 0 12
106 Ka’dar Hollman 2018 SR GNB 6 3 CB 13 1 2 0 12
122 Ryan Pulley 2016 SO CAR UND 5 CB 13 2 75 1 12
133 Juan Thornhill 2017 JR KAN 2 2 S 12 4 4 0 12
141 Rock Ya-Sin 2018 SR IND 2 2 CB 12 2 -1 0 12

In Conclusion

Here is a summary table of the historical rookie leaders in defensive statistics along with my projeceted 2019 rookie leaders. None of the 2019 are projected to crack the top ten in rookie records.

Statistic Record Player When Team Position 2019 Rookie Team Position Estimated Record Result
Sacks 14.5 Jevon Kearse 1999 TEN DE Montez Sweat WAS OLB 10.5 No Change
Solo Tackles 153 Chris Spielman 1988 DET LB Devin White TAM LB 100 No Change
Tackle Loss 23 Kendrell Bell 2001 PIT LB Ed Oliver BUF DT 14 No Change
QB Hits 29 Von Miller 2011 DEN LB Quinnen Williams NYJ DT 14 No Change
Total Tackles 174 Patrick Willis 2007 SFO LB Devin White TAM LB 130 No Change
Interceptions 14 Night Train Lane* 1952 RAM DB Greedy Williams CLE CB 5 No Change
Forced Fumbles 9 Dwight Freeney 2002 IND DE Oshane Ximines NYG LB 4 No Change
Passes Defended 26 Marcus Peters 2015 KAN CB Julian Love NYG S 12 No Change

2019 Rookie Running Backs And The Rookie Records

Today I look at the 2019 rookie running backs and which ones have the best potential to achieve rookie rushing records.

Rushing Attempts

Eric Dickerson holds the rookie rushing attempts record with 390 attempts in 1983 on the Rams. Alfred Morris (335 attempts) and Ezekiel Elliot (332 attempts) are the only active players in the top ten for rookie rushing attempts. Here are the top ten rookie rushing attempts.

Rk Player Year Age Tm G GS Att Yds Y/A TD Y/G
1 Eric Dickerson* 1983 23 RAM 16 16 390 1808 4.64 18 113
2 George Rogers 1981 23 NOR 16 16 378 1674 4.43 13 104.6
3 Edgerrin James 1999 21 IND 16 16 369 1553 4.21 13 97.1
4 Curtis Martin* 1995 22 NWE 16 15 368 1487 4.04 14 92.9
5 LaDainian Tomlinson* 2001 22 SDG 16 16 339 1236 3.65 10 77.3
6 Eddie George 1996 23 HOU 16 16 335 1368 4.08 8 85.5
7 Alfred Morris 2012 24 WAS 16 16 335 1613 4.81 13 100.8
8 Curt Warner 1983 22 SEA 16 16 335 1449 4.33 13 90.6
9 Ottis Anderson 1979 22 STL 16 16 331 1605 4.85 8 100.3
10 Ezekiel Elliott 2016 21 DAL 15 15 322 1631 5.07 15 108.7

 

Alexander Mattison had the highest attempts with 302 in 2018. However Devin Singletary was one below that in 2017 and Singletary repeated in the top eight with 261 in 2018. Benny Snell is another top eight repeater with numbers close to Singletary.

A list of the top 100 teams for rushing attempts per season over the last five seasons has Buffalo as the only team in the list five times. Plus their average position in the list is the second lowest (most attempts) for teams with multiple appearances. They like to run the ball. That coupled with Singletary’s rank in college attempts makes Singletary my choice for most rookie rushing attempts with 205. He would not break the top ten. This is assuming he can win the starting running back position. More on that in the next statistic. Here are the top ten 2019 rookies for college rushing attempts.

Rk Player Year Class School G Att Yds Avg TD
11 Alexander Mattison 2018 JR Boise State MIN 13 302 1415 4.7 17
13 Devin Singletary 2017 SO Florida Atlantic BUF 14 301 1918 6.4 32
23 Benjamin Snell Jr. 2018 JR Kentucky PIT 13 289 1449 5 16
41 Trayveon Williams 2018 JR Texas A&M CIN 13 271 1760 6.5 18
44 Justice Hill 2017 SO Oklahoma State BAL 13 268 1467 5.5 15
51 Bryce Love 2017 JR Stanford WAS 13 263 2118 8.1 19
55 Benjamin Snell Jr. 2017 SO Kentucky PIT 13 262 1333 5.1 19
57 Devin Singletary 2018 JR Florida Atlantic BUF 12 261 1348 5.2 22
61 Myles Gaskin 2018 SR Washington MIA 12 259 1268 4.9 12
63 David Montgomery 2017 SO Iowa State CHI 13 258 1146 4.4 11
65 David Montgomery 2018 JR Iowa State CHI 12 257 1216 4.7 13
66 Alex Barnes 2018 JR Kansas State TEN 12 256 1355 5.3 12
95 Nick Brossette 2018 SR Louisiana State NWE 13 240 1039 4.3 14

Rushing Yards

Eric Dickerson holds the rookie rushing yards record with 1,808 yards in 1983 on the Rams. The second place rusher is 134 yards less.

Rk Player Year Age Tm G GS Att Yds Y/A TD Y/G
1 Eric Dickerson* 1983 23 RAM 16 16 390 1808 4.64 18 113
2 George Rogers 1981 23 NOR 16 16 378 1674 4.43 13 104.6
3 Ezekiel Elliott 2016 21 DAL 15 15 322 1631 5.07 15 108.7
4 Alfred Morris 2012 24 WAS 16 16 335 1613 4.81 13 100.8
5 Ottis Anderson 1979 22 STL 16 16 331 1605 4.85 8 100.3
6 Edgerrin James 1999 21 IND 16 16 369 1553 4.21 13 97.1
7 Clinton Portis 2002 21 DEN 16 12 273 1508 5.52 15 94.3
8 Mike Anderson 2000 27 DEN 16 12 297 1487 5.01 15 92.9
9 Curtis Martin* 1995 22 NWE 16 15 368 1487 4.04 14 92.9
10 Barry Sanders* 1989 21 DET 15 13 280 1470 5.25 14 98

The lead rookie rusher Bryce Love had 2,118 yards in 2017.  That was second in the FBS that year. Love is currently on the Non-Football Injury list and is not practicing with the team.

The next leading 2019 rookie rusher is Buffalo’s Devin Singletary for the 1,918 yards he rushed for in 2017. That was fourth in the FBS that year. His 1,348 yards in 2018 was eleventh last year.  Singletary is one of only three 2019 rookies to have rushed for 1000+ yards in three years in college. The other two are Benjamin Snell and Myles Gaskin.

Last year’s snap counts had Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy in on 46% of the offensive snaps. In Miami Frank Gore was in on 36% of the snaps. McCoy’s average of 3.2 yards was the lowest of his ten year career. Frank Gore had a 4.6 yard average which was fifth best of his 14 year career. However he only had 722 yards, the second lowest of his career. His 156 rushing attempts was 24th among 32 backs that started 8+ games.

Singletary has been seeing plenty of first-team reps in training camp. He appears to be the most dynamic back with the best opportunity to see significant carries in 2019. I project Singletary to lead the 2019 rookies in rushing yards with 1,000+ yards but not break the top ten rookie records. Maybe he will come in around 1,100 yards rushing.

If Singletary does not get enough carries due to a crowded backfield the next candidate is David Montgomery on the Bears. It looks like Montgomery would be the number one back in Chicago. Montgomery rushed for 1000+ yards two of his college seasons with 1,216 in 2018 and 1,146 in 2017.

Here are the top 2019 rookie running backs in college rushing yards.

Rk Player Year Class School 2019 Team G Att Yds Avg TD
5 Bryce Love 2017 JR Stanford WAS 13 263 2118 8.1 19
10 Devin Singletary 2017 SO Florida Atlantic BUF 14 301 1918 6.4 32
11 Darrell Henderson 2018 JR Memphis LAR 13 214 1909 8.9 22
16 Trayveon Williams 2018 JR Texas A&M CIN 13 271 1760 6.5 18
59 Justice Hill 2017 SO Oklahoma State BAL 13 268 1467 5.5 15
62 Benjamin Snell Jr. 2018 JR Kentucky PIT 13 289 1449 5 16
68 Alexander Mattison 2018 JR Boise State MIN 13 302 1415 4.7 17
75 Jalin Moore 2016 SO Appalachian State NYJ 13 237 1402 5.9 10
80 Myles Gaskin 2017 JR Washington MIA 13 222 1380 6.2 21
86 Myles Gaskin 2016 SO Washington 14 237 1373 5.8 10
91 Alex Barnes 2018 JR Kansas State TEN 12 256 1355 5.3 12

Rushing Average

Beattie Feathers holds the rookie yards per attempt record with an 8.44 average on 119 attempts set in 1934 on the Bears. In his rookie season Feathers became the first player in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards in one season. The second leading rookie, Marion Motley, still holds the career rushing yards per attempt record (minimum 750 attempts). Alvin Kamara is the only modern era running back in the top ten rookies for rushing average.

Player Year Tm G GS Att Yds Y/A TD Y/G
Beattie Feathers 1934 CHI 11 10 119 1004 8.44 8 91.3
Marion Motley* 1946 CLE 13 10 73 601 8.23 5 46.2
Lenny Moore* 1956 CLT 12 12 86 649 7.55 8 54.1
Joe Perry* 1948 SFO 14 77 562 7.30 10 40.1
Hugh McElhenny* 1952 SFO 12 12 98 684 6.98 6 57
Paul Lowe 1960 SDG 14 11 136 855 6.29 8 61.1
Bobby Mitchell* 1958 CLE 12 7 80 500 6.25 1 41.7
Vic Kulbitski 1946 BBA 13 8 97 605 6.24 2 46.5
Buddy Young 1947 NAA 14 8 116 712 6.14 3 50.9
Alvin Kamara 2017 NOR 16 3 120 728 6.07 8 45.5

 

Ty Johnson leads 2019 rookies in college rushing yards per attempt with a 9.1 yard average set in 2016 at Maryland. He is closely followed by Darrell Henderson who had an 8.9 average in both of the last two seasons. That puts Henderson at second and third in the list. Ty Johnson was drafted in the sixth round by the Lions. Henderson was taken in the third round by the Rams.

The Rams have a highly rated offensive line and that coupled with Henderson’s speed (6th in the combine forty) and production make him my pick for leading rookies in yards per attempt. In 2018 Henderson was first in the FBS in rushing plays of 20+, 30+, 40+, 50+ and 60+ yards. I project Henderson with a 5.4 average. That would be tie for fourth among rookie backs over the last five seasons with 100+ attempts per season.

Rk Player Year Class School Team G Att Yds Avg TD
4 Ty Johnson 2016 SO Maryland DET 13 110 1004 9.1 6
7 Darrell Henderson 2018 JR Memphis LAR 13 214 1909 8.9 22
8 Darrell Henderson 2017 SO Memphis LAR 12 130 1154 8.9 9
20 Bryce Love 2017 JR Stanford WAS 13 263 2118 8.1 19
35 Tony Brooks-James 2016 SO Oregon ATL 12 101 771 7.6 9
38 Marcus Marshall 2015 FR Georgia Tech KAN 11 85 649 7.6 4
44 Darrin Hall 2018 SR Pittsburgh GNB 14 153 1144 7.5 10
48 Damien Harris 2017 JR Alabama NWE 14 135 1000 7.4 11
49 Jalin Moore 2015 FR Appalachian State NYJ 10 86 635 7.4 5
59 Adam Choice 2018 SR Clemson SEA 15 77 548 7.1 7
63 Damien Harris 2016 SO Alabama 15 146 1037 7.1 2
65 Bryce Love 2016 SO Stanford 12 111 783 7.1 3
66 Tony Pollard 2018 JR Memphis DAL 14 78 552 7.1 6

Rushing Touchdowns

Eric Dickerson leads all rookies in rushing touchdowns with 18 set in 1983 on the Rams. The next closest rookie has 15. Ezekiel Elliot is the only rookie in the last 16 years to make the top ten. He is in a four way tie for second at 15 touchdowns. Here are the top ten. There was a nine way tie at tenth but I cut it off based on number of games.

Rk Player Year Age Tm Lg G GS Att Yds Y/A TD Y/G
1 Eric Dickerson* 1983 23 RAM NFL 16 16 390 1808 4.64 18 113
2 Mike Anderson 2000 27 DEN NFL 16 12 297 1487 5.01 15 92.9
3 Ezekiel Elliott 2016 21 DAL NFL 15 15 322 1631 5.07 15 108.7
4 Clinton Portis 2002 21 DEN NFL 16 12 273 1508 5.52 15 94.3
5 Ickey Woods 1988 22 CIN NFL 16 10 203 1066 5.25 15 66.6
6 Curtis Martin* 1995 22 NWE NFL 16 15 368 1487 4.04 14 92.9
7 Barry Sanders* 1989 21 DET NFL 15 13 280 1470 5.25 14 98
8 Gale Sayers* 1965 22 CHI NFL 14 11 166 867 5.22 14 61.9
9 Fred Taylor 1998 22 JAX NFL 15 12 264 1223 4.63 14 81.5
10 Earl Campbell* 1978 23 HOU NFL 15 14 302 1450 4.8 13 96.7
11 Cookie Gilchrist 1962 27 BUF AFL 14 214 1096 5.12 13 78.3

 

Buffalo Bills’ Devin Singletary holds the top spot among 2019 rookie running backs for rushing touchdowns and also tie for second. He had 32 in 2017 for spot one and in 2018 he had 22 in 2018 to tie Darrell Henderson for the number two spot. For the last two seasons over 30% of his 132 red zone rushing attempts resulted in a touchdown. Singletary forced 96 missed tackles last season which was second in the country as reported by Pro Football Focus. His elusiveness especially in small quarters make him a strong red zone threat. LeSean McCoy made only 2 rushing touchdowns on 22 red zone attempts in 2018. Frank Gore made zero on thirteen attempts. This is an area I see the Bills relying heavily on Singletary. I project nine rushing touchdowns for Singletary. Here are the top 2019 rookies in college rushing touchdowns.

Rk Player Year Class School Team G Att Yds Avg TD
1 Devin Singletary 2017 SO Florida Atlantic BUF 14 301 1918 6.4 32
12 Darrell Henderson 2018 JR Memphis LAR 13 214 1909 8.9 22
14 Devin Singletary 2018 JR Florida Atlantic 12 261 1348 5.2 22
15 Myles Gaskin 2017 JR Washington MIA 13 222 1380 6.2 21
27 Bryce Love 2017 JR Stanford WAS 13 263 2118 8.1 19
29 Benjamin Snell Jr. 2017 SO Kentucky PIT 13 262 1333 5.1 19
46 Trayveon Williams 2018 JR Texas A&M CIN 13 271 1760 6.5 18
57 Alexander Mattison 2018 JR Boise State MIN 13 302 1415 4.7 17
80 Benjamin Snell Jr. 2018 JR Kentucky 13 289 1449 5 16
90 Justice Hill 2017 SO Oklahoma State BAL 13 268 1467 5.5 15
99 Ryquell Armstead 2016 SO Temple JAX 13 156 919 5.9 14
102 Nick Brossette 2018 SR Louisiana State NWE 13 240 1039 4.3 14

Rushing Yards Per Game

Eric Dickerson has the rookie  record of rushing yards per game with 113 set in 1983 on the Rams.  Ezekiel Elliot was the last rookie to crack the top ten making number two in 2016 with 108.7 yards. Here are the all-time rookie leaders.

Rk Player Year Age Tm G GS Att Yds Y/A TD Y/G
1 Eric Dickerson* 1983 23 RAM 16 16 390 1808 4.64 18 113
2 Ezekiel Elliott 2016 21 DAL 15 15 322 1631 5.07 15 108.7
3 George Rogers 1981 23 NOR 16 16 378 1674 4.43 13 104.6
4 Julius Jones 2004 23 DAL 8 7 197 819 4.16 7 102.4
5 Alfred Morris 2012 24 WAS 16 16 335 1613 4.81 13 100.8
6 Ottis Anderson 1979 22 STL 16 16 331 1605 4.85 8 100.3
7 Barry Sanders* 1989 21 DET 15 13 280 1470 5.25 14 98
8 Edgerrin James 1999 21 IND 16 16 369 1553 4.21 13 97.1
9 Don Woods 1974 23 SDG 12 9 227 1162 5.12 7 96.8
10 Earl Campbell* 1978 23 HOU 15 14 302 1450 4.8 13 96.7

 

Bryce Love on the Redskins had the best college yards per game with 163 in 2017. However he is currently on the NFI list recovering from an ACL injury last year. Head coach Gruden has stated that he does not think he’ll be on our active roster Week 1. The next two are Darrel Henderson with 147 yards in 2018 and Devin Singletary with 137 yards in 2017. I project Singletary to lead the rookies with a 69 yards per game average.

Rk Player Year Class Team G Att Yds Avg TD Yds/Game
6 Bryce Love 2017 JR WAS 13 263 2118 8.1 19 162.92
13 Darrell Henderson 2018 JR LAR 13 214 1909 8.9 22 146.85
12 Devin Singletary 2017 SO BUF 14 301 1918 6.4 32 137.00
24 Trayveon Williams 2018 JR CIN 13 271 1760 6.5 18 135.38
104 Alex Barnes 2018 JR TEN 12 256 1355 5.3 12 112.92
70 Justice Hill 2017 SO BAL 13 268 1467 5.5 15 112.85
107 Devin Singletary 2018 JR 12 261 1348 5.2 22 112.33
73 Benjamin Snell Jr. 2018 JR PIT 13 289 1449 5 16 111.46
318 Dexter Williams 2018 SR GNB 9 158 995 6.3 12 110.56
219 Ryquell Armstead 2018 SR JAX 10 210 1098 5.2 13 109.80
80 Alexander Mattison 2018 JR MIN 13 302 1415 4.7 17 108.85

Yards From Scrimmage

Eric Dickerson holds the rookie record among rookie running back with 2,212 in 1983 on the Rams. Saquon Barkley is the latest to make the top ten grabbing third with 2,028 in 2018.

Rk Player Year Age Tm G GS Touch TotOff YScm APYd RtY
1 Eric Dickerson* 1983 23 RAM 16 16 441 1808 2212 2212 0
2 Edgerrin James 1999 21 IND 16 16 431 1553 2139 2139 0
3 Saquon Barkley 2018 21 NYG 16 16 352 1307 2028 2028 0
4 Ezekiel Elliott 2016 21 DAL 15 15 354 1631 1994 1987 0
5 Doug Martin 2012 23 TAM 16 16 368 1454 1926 1926 0
6 Billy Sims 1980 25 DET 16 16 364 1303 1924 1907 0
7 Ottis Anderson 1979 22 STL 16 16 372 1605 1913 1913 0
8 Clinton Portis 2002 21 DEN 16 12 306 1508 1872 1872 0
9 Marshall Faulk* 1994 21 IND 16 16 366 1282 1804 1804 0
10 George Rogers 1981 23 NOR 16 16 394 1674 1800 1800 0

 

Darrel Henderson leads rookie running backs in college yards from scrimmage with 2,204 in 2018. He also leads in scrimmage yards per game with 170 yards. In 2018 he was second in scrimmage yards per play. Even with Rams Todd Gurley taking less attempts I do not see Henderson getting enough attempts to lead the rookies. I project Devin Singletary as the lead rookie in yards from scrimmage with 1,340 yards. Here are the top ten 2019 rookie backs in college scrimmage yards.

Yr Rk Name Team Yr Year Team G Rush Yards Recv Yards TD Plays Total Yards Yards/Play Yards/G
2 Darrell Henderson Memphis JR 2018 LAR 13 1909 295 25 233 2204 9.5 169.5
2 Bryce Love Stanford JR 2017 WAS 13 2118 33 19 269 2151 8 165.5
3 Devin Singletary FAU SO 2017 BUF 14 1920 198 33 320 2118 6.6 151.3
3 Trayveon Williams Texas A&M JR 2018 CIN 13 1760 278 19 298 2038 6.8 156.8
12 Justice Hill Okla St SO 2017 BAL 13 1467 190 16 299 1657 5.5 127.5
14 Myles Gaskin Washington JR 2017 MIA 13 1380 232 24 241 1612 6.7 124
7 Alexander Mattison Boise St JR 2018 MIN 13 1415 173 17 329 1588 4.8 122.2
10 Benny Snell, Jr. Kentucky JR 2018 PIT 13 1449 105 16 306 1554 5.1 119.5
11 Alex Barnes Kansas St JR 2018 TEN 12 1355 194 12 276 1549 5.6 129.1
14 A.J. Ouellette Ohio SR 2018 CLE 13 1306 212 14 234 1518 6.5 116.8

Summary

Here is a summary table of the existing rookie record holders and the projected 2018 lead rookies. It is amazing how Eric Dickerson to this day leads all rookies in almost every rushing statistic. My projections have Devin Singletary leading the 2019 rookies in almost a sweep of the statistics. This is hugely dependent on Singletary winning the starting role out of pre-season. However unlike the receiver rookies I do not see the running back rookies even cracking the top ten of rookie rushing statistics. I attribute that in large part to the fact that the league was a much more run-oriented league than it is today.

Statistic Record Player When Team 2019 Rookie Team Estimated Record Result
Rush Yards 1808 Eric Dickerson 1983 RAM Devin Singletary BUF 1100 No Change
Rush Attempts 390 Eric Dickerson 1983 RAM Devin Singletary BUF 205 No Change
Rush Average 8.44 Beattie Feathers 1934 CHI Darrell Henderson LAR 5.4 No Change
Rush Tds 18 Eric Dickerson 1983 RAM Devin Singletary BUF 9 No Change
Rush Yds/Game 113 Eric Dickerson 1983 RAM Devin Singletary BUF 69 No Change
Scimmage Yds 2212 Eric Dickerson 1983 RAM Devin Singletary BUF 1340 No Change

The Hall Of Fame Game And Toughest Rookies

Thursday night August 1st at 8:00 PM EST the unofficial start of the 2019 NFL season kicks off with the NFL Hall of Fame Game. The game is televised on NBC. It has the Atlanta Falcons versus the Denver Broncos. Today I highlight the  toughest rookies that we should see in the game from my article 2019 NFL Draft And Which Teams Became Tougher.

Quarterback Brett Rypien was a four year starter at Boise State where he went 40-13 and never had a losing season. He is in the Boise State record books for second most career passing yards (13,578) and passing touchdowns (89).  He is three times in the top ten Broncos record book for single season passing yards and for single game passing yards.  He is once in the top ten for single season passing touchdowns.

He was tenth in the NCAA in 2018 for passing touchdowns (30) and seventh for pass completions (301). Rypien was named the 2018 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year. In 2018 Rypien was deadly on third downs He converted 49% of his passing 3rd down attempts to first down. That was second best among 2019 draft prospects and bested only by Kyler Murray with 54%. However  Rypien had 120 3rd down pass attempts to Murray’s 80.

Rypien had 46% of his career regular season games with a passer rating of 150 or better. That is sixth best among the eighteen signed quarterback rookies. He had 52% of his regular season games with a 65% or better completion percentage. That is fifth among the signed quarterbacks.  His career passing yards per game of 272 yards is fourth. He had 65% of his career games with 230+ passing yards which is second. His career passing touchdowns per game of 1.8 is sixth best. In 2018 Rypien was fifteenth in passing plays of 10+ yards and tenth in passing plays of 40+ yards.

Rypien made my list of the five toughest players at each position that were drafted or signed during or after the 2019 draft. He is one of nine quarterbacks in the 2019 class that met all seven of Bill Parcells’ rules for drafting a quarterback.

These are a few highlights and low-lights from his draft profile on nfl.com.

Strengths
  • Smooth drop and setup and works with good rhythm
  • Compact release
  • Plays with above average football intelligence Games defenders into showing their hand before snap
  • Feels pressure develop on the edge and climbs the pocket
  • Throws with timing and anticipation
  • Accurate passer on all three levels
Weaknesses
  • Falls below normal minimum standards for size
  • Too many fumbles from innocuous contact in the pocket
  • Small margin for error when making field side throws. Lacks arm strength to outpace ball-hawks around the field
  • Interceptions come from leaving touch throws short
  • Mobility is below average and unable to threaten with feet
  • Gets sacked by arm tackles

Here are some 2018 highlights for Rypien

Fullback George Aston is an“old school” football player. He bench pressed 29 reps at his pro day which would have been second among combine running backs. In 2016, Aston scored 5 receiving and 5 rushing touchdowns. Only 28 players over the last 10 years have scored at least 5 TDs in both phases. Aston is one of only two in this draft class to do so. Those 10 touchdowns in 2016 came on just 44 touches or a touchdown every 4.4 touches. In 2017 Aston was injured and contributed as a reserve in only two games. Granted a lot changes from year to year, but it is worth noting that Pittsburgh went from 86th in rushing yards /game (148) and 97th in average rush yards (3.87) in 2017 to 18th in rush yards/game (228) and 13th in average rush yards (5.6) in 2018. They had the same two running backs both years. The major differences were three new o-linemen and George Aston was now healthy and playing. One of the o-line changes was the loss of second round draft pick Brian O’Neill. Pittsburgh’s offensive line coach Dave Borbely called Aston the best fullback he’s ever been around. Borbely is in his 39th season as a college offensive linemen coach and run game coordinator.

At the high school level Aston was capable of bench pressing 440 pounds and squatting 700 pounds. To put that in perspective in the spring of 2018 DT Ed Oliver was reported to be capable of  a 650 squat and a 405 bench press. At his Pro Day Aston met fullback target goals for seven of the eight drills. “I live in the gym. I’m there every day. When I’m not lifting, I’m running sprint drills or doing cardiovascular work.” said George Aston coming out of high school.

Aston has been described as ‘hard-nosed’ and a ‘blue-collar warrior. “George is a monster in there,” Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi said this past season. Aston made my list of the five toughest players at each position for players drafted or signed as undrafted free agents in 2019.

The other toughest 2019 draft class players in this game are all offensive linemen. On the Falcons you have backup right tackle Kaleb McGary and starting right guard Chris Lindstrom. On Denver there is starting left guard Dalton Risner. Here are some bullets from their draft profile on nfl.com.

Kaleb McGary – Loves to finish with maximum force when opportunity calls.
Chris Lindstrom – Scrappy to ride the bull against power looking to toss him.
Dalton Risner – Finishes with a mean streak

Enjoy the Game!

2019 Rookie Wide Receivers And Receiver Rookie Records

Today I look at the 2019 rookie wide receivers and which ones have the best potential to achieve rookie receiving records. (Update: 7/29 Adjusted DK Metcalf’s projection to break a rookie record).

Targets

The late Terry Glenn holds the record for wide receiver targets in a rookie season with 167.  Glenn was a tough small receiver chosen by the Patriots with the 7th overall pick of the 1996 draft. He was chosen on Bob Kraft’s decision overriding head coach Bill Parcells. Glenn won over Parcells through an outstanding rookie season in which he made the All-Rookie Team. In the final game of the regular season the Patriots fell behind the Giants 22-0 late in the third in a game the Patriots needed to clinch a playoff spot. Glenn went on to have six receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown in the win over the Giants. After the game Parcells told Glenn in front of the team – ‘I’m proud of you. You showed me that you’re a player.’ The rookie top ten for targets are shown in the following table.

Rk Player Year Age Draft Tm G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Y/G Ctch% Y/Tgt
1 Terry Glenn 1996 22 1-7 NWE 15 15 167 90 1132 12.58 6 75.5 53.9% 6.78
2 Anquan Boldin 2003 23 2-54 ARI 16 16 165 101 1377 13.63 8 86.1 61.2% 8.35
3 Kelvin Benjamin 2014 23 1-28 CAR 16 15 145 73 1008 13.81 9 63 50.3% 6.95
4 Kevin Johnson 1999 23 2-32 CLE 16 16 137 66 986 14.94 8 61.6 48.2% 7.2
5 Joey Galloway 1995 24 1-8 SEA 16 16 133 67 1039 15.51 7 64.9 50.4% 7.81
6 Justin Blackmon 2012 22 1-5 JAX 16 14 132 64 865 13.52 5 54.1 48.5% 6.55
7 Odell Beckham 2014 22 1-12 NYG 12 11 130 91 1305 14.34 12 108.8 70.0% 10.04
8 Amari Cooper 2015 21 1-4 OAK 16 15 130 72 1070 14.86 6 66.9 55.4% 8.23
9 Eddie Royal 2008 22 2-42 DEN 15 15 129 91 980 10.77 5 65.3 70.5% 7.6
10 Mike Williams 2010 23 4-101 TAM 16 16 129 65 964 14.83 11 60.3 50.4% 7.47

 

The Cardinals  selected receiver Andy Isabella in round two of the draft. Like Terry Glenn, Isabella is also a small receiver at 5’9″ and 188 lbs. Isabella had the third most targets per game in the NCAA in 2018 with 12.6. His speed and change of direction skills make him difficult to cover. At the combine Isabella was tie for the fastest wide receiver in the forty. He was sixth in the three-cone and short shuttle. In 2018 Andy Isabella led all wide receiver draft prospects in receiving yards team market share with a 47.5%. The next closest receiver was over 5% less.

Arizona new head coach Kliff Kingsbury was head coach of Texas Tech from 2013 to 2018. During that period Texas Tech was in the top six teams in passing attempts per season. Three of those seasons they were number two. In 2013 with Davis Webb and  Baker Mayfield at quarterback Texas Tech ran passing plays nearly 65% of the time which was the fourth highest in the NCAA. I see Isabella being one of the three Cardinals starting receivers along with Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk.

According to ESPN.com  out of all NFL receivers only three in 2018 passed Terry Glenn’s rookie target record. The top targeted receiver, Julio Jones, only passed Glenn’s record by three targets. Sixteen receivers would have cracked the top ten of rookie target records if they were rookies.  I see Isabella cracking the top ten of rookies for receiving targets but Terry Glenn’s rookie record would appear to be out of reach. It has been over three years since a rookie made the top ten. Amari Cooper on the Raiders got to number eight with 130 targets in 2015. Kyler Murray to Andy Isabella should make for exciting football.

Receptions

The rookie record for receptions by a wide receiver was set in 2003 by Anquan Boldin on the Cardinals with 101. For receptions per game (minimum 25 receptions) the record is Odell Beckham with 7.6 receptions per game. Boldin is second with 6.3.

Anquan Boldin was one of the toughest players at wide receiver. In 2008 he suffered a brutal helmet to helmet hit that required seven metal plates and 40 screws in his face. He missed just two games.  Boldin retired in 2017 after 14 years in the NFL. In Boldin’s words – “At this time, I feel drawn to make the larger fight for human rights a priority. My life’s purpose is bigger than football”. Boldin has founded the Anquan Boldin Foundation to help educational and life opportunities of underprivileged children. He has traveled to Ethiopia to volunteer with Oxfam America.  Here are the top ten all-time in receptions.

Rk Player Year Age Tm G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Y/G Ctch% Y/Tgt Rec per game
1 Anquan Boldin 2003 23 ARI 16 16 165 101 1377 13.63 8 86.1 61.2% 8.35 6.313
2 Michael Thomas 2016 23 NOR 15 12 121 92 1137 12.36 9 75.8 76.0% 9.4 6.133
3 Odell Beckham 2014 22 NYG 12 11 130 91 1305 14.34 12 108.8 70.0% 10.04 7.583
4 Eddie Royal 2008 22 DEN 15 15 129 91 980 10.77 5 65.3 70.5% 7.6 6.067
5 Terry Glenn 1996 22 NWE 15 15 167 90 1132 12.58 6 75.5 53.9% 6.78 6.000
6 Jarvis Landry 2014 22 MIA 16 11 112 84 758 9.02 5 47.4 75.0% 6.77 5.250
7 Michael Clayton 2004 22 TAM 16 13 122 80 1193 14.91 7 74.6 65.6% 9.78 5.000
8 Kelvin Benjamin 2014 23 CAR 16 15 145 73 1008 13.81 9 63 50.3% 6.95 4.563
11 Bill Groman 1960 24 HOU 14 13 72 1473 20.46 12 105.2 5.143

 

Marquise Brown was the first receiver chosen in round one of the 2019 draft. He is projected to be a slot receiver on the Ravens due to his size of 5’9″” and 170 lbs, his speed, shiftiness, toughness and fearlessness. Brown had a 74% catch rate. That was best among the top targeted college receivers. Quarterback Lamar Jackson’s passing strength was passes to the middle of the field. That fits nicely with Brown’s skills as a slot receiver. Brown could easily be the number one wide receiver on the Ravens in 2019.

I project Marquise Brown to have the most rookie receptions with 64. It will not challenge Anquan Boldin’s rookie record nor even crack the top ten rookie records. However it will tie Calvin Ridley for the tenth highest of the last five seasons. The basis of the projection starts with Lamar Jackson’s desire to be more of a passing quarterback. In his rookie season Jackson had 24.3 pass attempts per game which was the lowest among starting quarterbacks. Projecting a 10% increase in pass attempts puts him at 428 for the year. That would be 28th among the 2018 quarterbacks.  Projecting Brown as the WR1 on the Ravens I used the average team target share for a wide receiver one which was 23% for the 2016 season according to nfl.com. That gives Brown 98 targets. Lastly I use a projected catch rate. Brown had a 74% catch rate his last year. I used a 65% catch rate. That would be tenth best among 22 rookie receivers over the last five years with 80+ targets. Two Ravens receivers had a 65% or better with Jackson quarterback. Willie Snead had 65.4% on 26 targets over Jackson’s seven games. Chris Moore had 70% on 10 targets over those seven games.

It will be interesting to see if Lamar Jackson improves as a passer from year one and if Jackson hooking up with Marquise Brown improves on an already exciting run game.

Receiving Yards

The rookie record for receiving yards was set by Bill Groman in 1960 on the Houston Oilers with 1,473 yards in just a 14 game season. In his six years of professional football, Groman played on four AFL championship teams, the only man ever to do so. Groman is the only player in pro football history to have more receiving touchdowns (27) within the first 25 games of his career than O’dell Beckham. After college Groman was teaching eighth grade science when a lunch with a fellow teacher and her husband got Groman hooked up with  the head coach of the newly formed Oilers in the AFL. The rest is NFL history. Here is a table of the top ten rookies for receiving yards.

Rk Player Year Age Tm Lg G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Y/G Ctch% Y/Tgt
1 Bill Groman 1960 24 HOU AFL 14 13 72 1473 20.46 12 105.2
2 Anquan Boldin 2003 23 ARI NFL 16 16 165 101 1377 13.63 8 86.1 61.2% 8.35
3 Randy Moss* 1998 21 MIN NFL 16 11 124 69 1313 19.03 17 82.1 55.6% 10.59
4 Odell Beckham 2014 22 NYG NFL 12 11 130 91 1305 14.34 12 108.8 70.0% 10.04
5 Billy Howton 1952 22 GNB NFL 12 12 53 1231 23.23 13 102.6
6 Michael Clayton 2004 22 TAM NFL 16 13 122 80 1193 14.91 7 74.6 65.6% 9.78
7 Michael Thomas 2016 23 NOR NFL 15 12 121 92 1137 12.36 9 75.8 76.0% 9.4
8 Terry Glenn 1996 22 NWE NFL 15 15 167 90 1132 12.58 6 75.5 53.9% 6.78
9 Bill Brooks 1986 22 IND NFL 16 12 65 1131 17.4 8 70.7
10 Harlon Hill 1954 22 CHI NFL 12 12 45 1124 24.98 12 93.7

Andy Isabella had the most receiving yards in 2018 topping the next player by over 200 yards with one less game. His 1,698 yards in 2018 is eighth most in a season since 2000. Isabella also is the active career leader in receiving yards in the FBS with 3,526. Isabella can stretch the field. In 2018 he was second in receiving plays of 10+, 20+ and 30+ yards. He is first in receiving plays of 40+, 50+ and 60+ yards. Isabella accounted for 47.47% team market share of receiving yards for UMass. That was the tops among 2019 draft prospects.

Quarterback and 2019 rookie Kyler Murray was third in the FBS in passing yards with 4,361. Over the last 10 years eleven quarterbacks have started all 16 games their rookie season. The average passing yards of these 11 rookies is 3,600 yards The average of the top five is 4,000 yards. I see Kyler Murray as hitting 4,000 passing yards and Isabella getting one third of that. This would put him in the top five of all-time rookie receiving yards. Here are the eleven starting rookies over the last ten years.

Rk Player Year Age Draft Tm GS Yds
1 Andrew Luck 2012 23 1-1 IND 16 4374
2 Cam Newton 2011 22 1-1 CAR 16 4051
3 Jameis Winston 2015 21 1-1 TAM 16 4042
4 Carson Wentz 2016 24 1-2 PHI 16 3782
5 Dak Prescott 2016 23 4-135 DAL 16 3667
6 Sam Bradford 2010 23 1-1 STL 16 3512
7 Andy Dalton 2011 24 2-35 CIN 16 3398
8 Ryan Tannehill 2012 24 1-8 MIA 16 3294
9 Derek Carr 2014 23 2-36 OAK 16 3270
10 Russell Wilson 2012 24 3-75 SEA 16 3118
11 Geno Smith 2013 23 2-39 NYJ 16 3046
Average All 3596
Average Top 5 3983

 

In 2018 Arizona was last in the league in passing yards with only 2,523. The high was set by Tampa Bay with 5,125 and the average was 3,804. The potential receiving yards turnaround of Arizona and rookie receiving yard records will make following the Cardinals an interesting story-line in the 2019 season.

Yards per Reception

The record rookie yards per reception is held by Bucky Pope. Pope set the record in 1964 on the Rams with 31.44 yards per reception on 25 receptions. Pope was tall at 6’5″ and fast. He also had 10 receiving touchdowns that rookie year which stands at tie for tenth all-time by a rookie wide receiver. Pope turned out to be a one year wonder as his career was cut short due to injury. In 1965 after fulfilling his six month reserve duty for the army, Pope rushed back to help the Rams as they depended on him. He was not ready and injured his knee real bad in an exhibition game for which he was paid only six dollars. Pope missed all of the 1965 season and was never the same after the injury. He wound up playing 19 games over three years before hanging it up after the 1968 season. Here are the top ten rookies in yards per reception with a minimum 21 receptions.

Rk Player Year Age Tm G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Y/G Ctch% Y/Tgt
1 Bucky Pope 1964 23 RAM 14 12 25 786 31.44 10 56.1
2 Jimmy Orr 1958 23 PIT 12 12 33 910 27.58 7 75.8
3 Art Graham 1963 22 BOS 14 21 550 26.19 5 39.3
4 Ron Sellers 1969 22 BOS 12 9 27 705 26.11 6 58.8
5 Harlon Hill 1954 22 CHI 12 12 45 1124 24.98 12 93.7
6 Chris Sanders 1995 23 HOU 16 11 87 35 823 23.51 9 51.4 40.2% 9.46
7 Mac Speedie 1946 26 CLE 14 10 24 564 23.5 7 40.3
8 Mal Kutner 1946 25 CRD 11 5 27 634 23.48 5 57.6
9 James Jett 1993 23 RAI 16 1 78 33 771 23.36 3 48.2 42.3% 9.88
10 Billy Howton 1952 22 GNB 12 12 53 1231 23.23 13 102.6

Xavier Ubosi was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It is his third signing since the 2019 draft. He was previously waived by the Patriots and the Jets. His 2018 yards per reception of 23.9 yards was first in the FBS. Ubosi is currently on injured reserve.

Darius Slayton was chosen by the Giants in round five of the 2019 draft. His 22.2 yards per reception in 2017 was second best among 2019 rookies and fifth best in the FBS that year.  Slayton hit wide receiver targets for seven of his eight combine drills. He was third among wide receivers in the broad jump and vertical jump. Slayton currently is sidelined in training camp with a hamstring injury.

Hakeem Butler is third among signed draft prospects in yards per reception. His 21.97 yards per reception in 2018 was third best in the FBS. He made that average on 60 receptions which was the most receptions for the top fifteen players in yards per reception. Butler has exceptional measurements for a wide receiver. On mockdraftable.com charts he come in at the top 5 percentile in all measurements with height (6’5″), wingspan (83 7/8ths), arm length (35.25″) and hand size (10.75″) all being 98 percentile or better. He still meets wide receiver combine drill targets for the forty (4.48 s) and five additional combine drills for a total of six out of eight.

D.K. Metcalf had the sixth best yards per reception among 2019 NFL rookies. His 21.88 yards per reception in 2108 would be fourth in the FBS but he only played seven games due to a season ending neck injury. Metcalf is like a  faster version of Hakeem Butler. D.K.’s physical measurements are in the top 5 percentile for weight, wingspan and arm length among historical combine wide receiver data. Metcalf met wide receiver targets for six of the eight drills. He was third at the combine among wide receivers in the forty (4.33), first in the bench press (27 reps), third in vertical jump and fifth in the broad jump.

Metcalf was selected in the second round of the draft by the Seahawks  and is projected to be a starting receiver. Seahawks’ quarterback Russel Wilson was fourth in the league last year in 40+ passing plays with 13. His career yards per completion of 12.2 yards is tie for third among active quarterbacks. Wilson’s career 7.9 yards per attempt leads all active quarterbacks. Metcalf’s speed and vertical threat capability coupled with Russell Wilson’s ability to push the ball downfield make Metcalf my favorite to lead the rookie receivers in yards per reception.

In the last five seasons no rookie wide receiver even cracked the top ten in rookie yards per reception. This could be due to the league drifting more towards quicker short passes. In fact the latest date for a top ten player in yards per reception is 1993. It is highly unlikely a 2019 rookie breaks the top ten let alone upset Bucky Pope at number one. Here are the top ten 2019 rookies in college yards per reception.

Rk Player Year Class School 2019 Team G Rec Yds Avg TD
14 Xavier Ubosi 2018 SR Alabama-Birmingham TAM 13 35 837 23.9 8
21 Darius Slayton 2017 SO Auburn NYG 11 29 643 22.2 5
22 Jaylen Smith 2016 SO Louisville unsigned 12 27 599 22.2 6
24 Hakeem Butler 2018 JR Iowa State ARI 13 60 1318 22 9
26 Olabisi Johnson 2016 SO Colorado State MIN 11 28 613 21.9 4
28 D.K. Metcalf 2018 SO Mississippi SEA 7 26 569 21.9 5
54 Jon’Vea Johnson 2018 SR Toledo DAL 13 32 660 20.6 9
74 Terry McLaurin 2018 SR Ohio State WAS 12 35 701 20 11
108 Marquise Brown 2017 SO Oklahoma BAL 13 57 1095 19.2 7
182 Anthony Ratliff-Williams 2017 SO North Carolina TEN 12 35 630 18 6

Receiving Touchdowns

Randy Moss leads all wide receivers in rookie receiving touchdowns with 17 set in 1998 on the Vikings. Receiver Billy Howton leads all wide receivers in rookie receiving touchdowns per game set in 1952 on the Packers with 13 touchdowns set in 12 game season.

Billy Howton’s 13 touchdown receptions as a rookie held as number one from 1952 until Randy Moss broke it in 1998. To this day Howton remains as tied with one other player for second in rookie receiving touchdowns. This in spite of the league going to a 16 game season.  When he retired after the 1963 season, Howton was the all-time leader in receiving yards. He held that position for three years.  All other nine players that held all-time leader in receiving yards for 3+ years are in the Hall Of Fame. Randy Moss was inducted into the NFL Football Hall of Fame in 2018. Billy Howton has yet to be named a finalist in Pro Football Hall of Fame balloting. Howton is 89 years old and it would be the right thing to induct him into the Hall Of Fame. Here are the top ten rookies all-time for receiving touchdowns.

Rk Player From To Tm G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Y/G Y/Tgt TD/Game
1 Randy Moss* 1998 1998 MIN 16 11 124 69 1313 19.03 17 82.1 10.59 1.063
2 Billy Howton 1952 1952 GNB 12 12 53 1231 23.23 13 102.6 1.083
3 John Jefferson 1978 1978 SDG 14 14 56 1001 17.88 13 71.5 0.929
4 Odell Beckham 2014 2014 NYG 12 11 130 91 1305 14.34 12 108.8 10.04 1.000
5 Mike Evans 2014 2014 TAM 15 15 122 68 1051 15.46 12 70.1 8.61 0.800
6 Bill Groman 1960 1960 OTI 14 13 72 1473 20.46 12 105.2 0.857
7 Bob Hayes* 1965 1965 DAL 13 13 46 1003 21.8 12 77.2 0.923
8 Harlon Hill 1954 1954 CHI 12 12 45 1124 24.98 12 93.7 1.000
9 Mike Williams 2010 2010 TAM 16 16 129 65 964 14.83 11 60.3 7.47 0.688
10 Alyn Beals 1946 1946 SFO 14 1 40 586 14.65 10 41.9 0.714
11 Bucky Pope 1964 1964 RAM 14 12 25 786 31.44 10 56.1 0.714
12 Calvin Ridley 2018 2018 ATL 16 5 92 64 821 12.83 10 51.3 8.92 0.625
13 Bill Swiacki 1948 1948 NYG 12 1 39 550 14.1 10 45.8 0.833
14 Daryl Turner 1984 1984 SEA 16 8 35 715 20.43 10 44.7 0.625
15 Sammy White 1976 1976 MIN 14 14 51 906 17.76 10 64.7 0.714

David Sills leads all 2019 rookies in college receiving touchdowns in a season with 18 he caught in 2017. He again appears on the list at number three with 15 touchdowns in 2018. David scored a touchdown once every 3.7 catches in his career. Sills was signed by the Bills as an undrafted free agent following the 2019 draft.  Sills is tall at 6’3″ and one of the two tallest receivers on the Bills. Sills had the thirteenth best vertical jump (37.5) at the combine among wide receivers and the best combine vertical among Bills wide receivers. His draft profile on nfl.com lists his strength to elevate  and high-point 50-50 balls. It also lists that Sills is a goal-line specialist winning with slants and fades. In his career at West Virginia David Sills had 27 red-zone receptions and came away with 22 touchdowns. In 2017 he had 12 touchdowns on 14 receptions in the red-zone.

The current experienced receivers on the Bills in 2018 all together had 52 targets in the red-zone, made 26 receptions (50%) and came away with 12 touchdowns (23%).  Bills quarterback Josh Allen had 27 passing attempts in the red zone and came away with four touchdowns for a 14.8% conversion. That was the lowest in the league. I do not see Sills leading the rookies due to quarterback Josh Allen’s passing productivity especially in the red-zone.

JJ Arcega-Whiteside was tie for third in the FBS in receiving touchdowns with 14. In his college career Arcega-Whiteside has 27 red-zone receptions and came away with 22 touchdowns.  No other draft prospect had more red-zone receiving touchdowns in 2018 than JJ’s nine. His 14 receiving touchdowns in 2018 was 48% of his team’s receiving touchdowns.

In 2108 Carson Wentz was third in the league in the percent of pass attempts inside the 10 yard line that scored touchdowns with 46%. Inside the 20 he was seventh scoring on 31% of his attempts. Arcega-Whiteside was a second round pick and should see significant playing time.

I project Arcega-Whiteside as leading the rookies in receiving touchdowns. Last year rookie Calvin Ridley broke into the top ten rookies in receiving touchdowns with ten. I see Arcega-Whiteside doing the same. Here are the  top ten rookies for college receiving touchdowns.

Rk Player Year Class School 2019 Team G Rec Yds Avg TD TD MS
5 David Sills 2017 JR West Virginia BUF 12 60 980 16.3 18 49.0%
14 John Ursua 2018 JR Hawaii SEA 13 89 1343 15.1 16 37.0%
20 David Sills 2018 SR West Virginia BUF 12 65 986 15.2 15 49.0%
21 JJ Arcega-Whiteside 2018 SR Stanford PHI 12 63 1059 16.8 14 48.0%
28 Anthony Johnson 2017 JR Buffalo TAM 12 76 1356 17.8 14 58.3%
32 Preston Williams 2018 JR Colorado State MIA 12 96 1345 14 14 56.0%
38 Andy Isabella 2018 SR Massachusetts ARI 12 102 1698 16.6 13 48.1%
39 Gary Jennings 2018 SR West Virginia SEA 11 54 917 17 13 34.2%
40 Diontae Johnson 2017 SO Toledo PIT 14 74 1278 17.3 13 46.4%
49 Parris Campbell 2018 SR Ohio State IND 14 90 1063 11.8 12 23.5%
70 A.J. Brown 2017 SO Mississippi TEN 11 75 1252 16.7 11 39.3%

Receiving Yards Per Game

Odell Beckham leads all rookies in receiving yards per game in their rookie year. He had 108.8 yards per game in 12 games in 2014. Here are the top ten rookies of all time for receiving yards per game.

Rk Player Year Age Tm G GS Rec Yds Y/R TD Y/G
1 Odell Beckham 2014 22 NYG 12 11 91 1305 14.34 12 108.8
2 Bill Groman 1960 24 HOU 14 13 72 1473 20.46 12 105.2
3 Billy Howton 1952 22 GNB 12 12 53 1231 23.23 13 102.6
4 James Brim 1987 24 MIN 3 3 18 282 15.67 2 94
5 Harlon Hill 1954 22 CHI 12 12 45 1124 24.98 12 93.7
6 Anquan Boldin 2003 23 ARI 16 16 101 1377 13.63 8 86.1
7 Al Williams 1987 26 SDG 3 3 12 247 20.58 1 82.3
8 Randy Moss* 1998 21 MIN 16 11 69 1313 19.03 17 82.1
9 Adrian Arrington 2010 25 NOR 1 0 7 79 11.29 0 79
10 Bob Hayes* 1965 23 DAL 13 13 46 1003 21.8 12 77.2

Andy Isabella, the 2019 rookie leader in college receiving yards, is also the rookie leader in receiving yards per game. Here are the top ten 2019 rookies for college receiving yards per game in a season.

Rk Player Year Class School 2019 Team G Rec Yds Avg TD Yds / game
6 Andy Isabella 2018 SR Massachusetts ARI 12 102 1698 16.6 13 141.5
29 Antoine Wesley 2018 JR Texas Tech BAL 12 88 1410 16 9 117.5
65 A.J. Brown 2017 SO Mississippi TEN 11 75 1252 16.7 11 113.8
37 Anthony Johnson 2017 JR Buffalo TAM 12 76 1356 17.8 14 113.0
39 Preston Williams 2018 JR Colorado State MIA 12 96 1345 14 14 112.1
653 John Ursua 2017 SO Hawaii SEA 6 47 667 14.2 5 111.2
45 A.J. Brown 2018 JR Mississippi TEN 12 85 1320 15.5 6 110.0
47 Marquise Brown 2018 JR Oklahoma BAL 12 75 1318 17.6 10 109.8
95 Scott Miller 2018 SR Bowling Green State TAM 11 71 1148 16.2 9 104.4
345 Emanuel Hall 2018 SR Missouri CHI 8 37 828 22.4 6 103.5
40 John Ursua 2018 JR Hawaii SEA 13 89 1343 15.1 16 103.3
48 Hakeem Butler 2018 JR Iowa State ARI 13 60 1318 22 9 101.4

Catch Rate

The top three rookies all-time for catch rate are Kevin Norwood and Trey Quinn tied at 90% but for only 10 targets. They are followed by Antonio Brown at 84% on 19 targets. Here are the top ten rookies for catch rate with a minimum 10 targets.

Rk Player Year Age Tm G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Y/G Ctch% Y/Tgt
1 Kevin Norwood 2014 25 SEA 9 2 10 9 102 11.33 0 11.3 90.0% 10.2
2 Trey Quinn 2018 23 WAS 3 2 10 9 75 8.33 1 25 90.0% 7.5
3 Antonio Brown 2010 22 PIT 9 0 19 16 167 10.44 0 18.6 84.2% 8.79
4 Tanner McEvoy 2016 23 SEA 14 0 11 9 140 15.56 2 10 81.8% 12.73
5 Randall Cobb 2011 21 GNB 15 0 31 25 375 15 1 25 80.6% 12.1
6 Patrick Crayton 2004 25 DAL 8 0 15 12 162 13.5 1 20.3 80.0% 10.8
7 Mike Thomas 2009 22 JAX 14 4 62 48 453 9.44 1 32.4 77.4% 7.31
8 Brandin Cooks 2014 21 NOR 10 7 69 53 550 10.38 3 55 76.8% 7.97
9 Russell Copeland 1993 22 BUF 16 2 17 13 242 18.62 0 15.1 76.5% 14.24
10 Michael Thomas 2016 23 NOR 15 12 121 92 1137 12.36 9 75.8 76.0% 9.4

The top 2019 rookie for college catch rate in 2018 was Parris Campbell with an 83% catch rate and 90 receptions. Campbell had the eighth most receptions (90) and the 25th most yards (1,063). His 11.8 yards per reception was 54th out of 74 players with a minimum 60 receptions. Nevertheless half of his receptions resulted in a first down.

Campbell’s 11.8 yard average would fall right in the middle of the top ten rookies for yards per reception. He can be a valuable short yardage receiver that can move the sticks. The Colts are excited about what Campbell has shown in training camp. Quarterback Andrew Luck had the 11th best completion percentage (67.3%)  among quarterbacks with 8+ starts and the 22nd yards per attempt (7.19 yards). Colts receiver Chester Rogers had the ninth highest catch percentage (73.6%) among receivers with a minimum 32 targets. Out of the nine Rogers had the third lowest yards per reception (9.15). Campbell could easily fall into the same role. He is a good candidate to be the top rookie receiver in catch percentage. I can see him cracking the lower half of the top ten rookies of all-time for catch percentage.

Receiving Yards Per Target

The rookie leader for yards per target is Kenny Stills. In 2013 on the Saints Stills had a 12.82 yards per target average on fifty targets. The last two years rookies have come close to this record with Bills rookie Robert Foster with 12.3 in 2018 and Steelers rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster with 11.61 in 2017. Here are the top ten rookie records for yards per target.

Rk Player Year Age Tm G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Y/G Ctch% Y/Tgt
1 Kenny Stills 2013 21 NOR 16 10 50 32 641 20.03 5 40.1 64.0% 12.82
2 Robert Foster 2018 24 BUF 13 3 44 27 541 20.04 3 41.6 61.4% 12.3
3 JuJu Smith-Schuster 2017 21 PIT 14 7 79 58 917 15.81 7 65.5 73.4% 11.61
4 Martavis Bryant 2014 23 PIT 10 3 48 26 549 21.12 8 54.9 54.2% 11.44
5 Lee Evans 2004 23 BUF 16 11 74 48 843 17.56 9 52.7 64.9% 11.39
6 Anthony Gonzalez 2007 23 IND 13 9 51 37 576 15.57 3 44.3 72.5% 11.29
7 Hank Baskett 2006 24 PHI 16 5 42 22 464 21.09 2 29 52.4% 11.05
8 Marc Boerigter 2002 24 KAN 16 2 38 20 420 21 8 26.3 52.6% 11.05
9 Arthur Marshall 1992 23 DEN 16 1 45 26 493 18.96 1 30.8 57.8% 10.96
10 Hakeem Nicks 2009 21 NYG 14 6 74 47 790 16.81 6 56.4 63.5% 10.68

The 2019 rookie leader for college yards per target is Terry McLaurin. However the numbers on the top three are very close. D.K Metcalf is third with 14.225 yards per target. Metcalf averaged 4.9 yards per target more than his teammates. Metcalf is on the Seahawks who have a much more stable quarterback situation than McLaurin will see on Washington. Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson will push the ball downfield as I detail above under Yards Per Reception. Seahawk receiver Tyler Lockett had 13.79 yards per target last year. Metcalf’s 21.9 yards per reception in 2018 was fourth in the FBS. I see Metcalf as the top candidate for taking the rookie record of yards per target from Kenny Stills.  He should at a minimum crack the top ten. Here are the top ten 2019 rookies for 2018 college yards per target.

WR School 2019 Team Targets Yards Yds / Tar
Terry McLaurin Ohio State WAS 49 701 14.306
Emanuel Hall Missouri CHI 58 828 14.276
D.K. Metcalf Ole Miss SEA 40 569 14.225
Xavier Ubosi UAB TAM 64 837 13.078
Gary Jennings West Virginia SEA 74 917 12.392
Marquise Brown Oklahoma BAL 107 1318 12.318
Hakeem Butler Iowa State ARI 111 1314 11.838
Andy Isabella UMASS ARI 148 1698 11.473
Antoine Wesley Texas Tech BAL 124 1404 11.323
JJ Arcega-Whiteside Stanford PHI 95 1059 11.147

In Summary

Here is a table summary of the receiver projections relative to rookie statistical records.

Statistic Record Record Holder Year Set Team Top 2019 Rookie Candidate Team Projection
Targets 167 Terry Glenn 1996 NWE Andy Isabella ARI Top Ten
Receptions 101 Anquan Boldin 2003 ARI Marquise Brown BAL No Change
Receiving Yards 1473 Bill Groman 1960 HOU Andy Isabella ARI Top Five
Yards Per Reception 31.44 Bucky Pope 1964 RAM D.K. Metcalf SEA No Change
Receiving Touchdowns 17 Randy Moss 1998 MIN JJ Arcega-Whiteside PHI Top Ten
Rec Yards Per Game 109 Odell Beckham 2014 NYG Andy Isabella ARI Top Ten
Catch Rate 90.00% Kevin Norwood 2014 SEA Parris Campbell IND Top Ten
Receiving Yards Per Target 12.82 Kenny Stills 2013 NOR D.K. Metcalf SEA New Record

I give D.K. Metcalf the best chance to create a new rookie record in receiving yards per target. Andy Isabella with a strong rookie season by Kyler Murray could break into the top five of rookie receiver yards. Then multiple potential new top ten rookie receiver lists .

2019 Rookie Quarterback And Rookie Quarterback Records

Today I look at the 2019 rookie quarterbacks and their potential to set rookie quarterback records. I present the record situation for various quarterback statistics and the quarterback who is most likely to break the record based on their college production. Each statistic is followed by tables of the rookie quarterbacks  for that statistic in games, season, career and percent of games meeting a high threshold.  AT the conclusion I summarize the top rookies for each statistic and give my projection of how the discussed rookies will fare in the 53 man roster cuts.

Quarterback Rating

Otto Graham still holds the record for rookie passer rating at 112.1 for 14 games and 9 starts set in 1946.  The next rookie quarterbacks with 100+ season attempts and their rating are Dak Prescott (104.9), Deshaun Watson (103) and Robert Griffin (102.4). Among the new rookie quarterbacks Kyler Murray  holds the top college records for

  1. single game passing efficiency (348),
  2. season passing efficiency (199.2) and
  3. career passing efficiency  (181.3).

His career passing efficiency  and season passing efficiency are the second highest since 2000 for quarterbacks with 100 (career) and 50 (season) pass attempts. His game high passer rating is ninth best. None of the three NFL quarterbacks that trail Otto Graham for passer rating were ahead of Murray in these passer rating statistics. Kyler Murray had 76% of his games  with a 150+ passing efficiency rating. That is tops among signed 2019 draft prospects.

Contrary to this Bleacher Report ranking at 26th, I believe the Cardinals have a strong receiver corp in 2019. They added four offensive weapons from the draft in wide receivers Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, Keesean Johnson and tight end Caleb Wilson. From a 2018 receiving yards team market share perspective they got the two best in Isabella (47%) and Butler (42%). Butler was third in the nation in average receiving yards (22 yards). Isabella was second in the nation in 10+ receiving yards plays. In 20+ receiving yards plays they got the top three receivers: 1st KeeSean Johnson (26) and tied for second Hakeem Butler (25) and Andy Isabella (25). A whopping 75% of Butler’s receptions made 1st down. That was second best among 32 wide receiver draft prospects with a 30% receiving yards team market share. Then you add the fact that the Cardinals have 11 time Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald and you should have a decent receiving corp.

The college passing efficiency rating is different from the NFL passer rating and generates higher numbers. Otto Graham’s 112.1  rookie rating is the tenth highest season rating in NFL history. Only Nick Foles with a 119.2 at 24 years old had a higher rating at the same age as Graham or younger. Aaron Rodgers holds the highest season passer rating with a 122.5 at age 27. Since 1950 the average top passer rating has gone up every decade. I would say Murray has a good chance to break Graham’s rookie record for passer rating.

Single Game passer rating – Kyler Murray

Rk Player Date School Opponent Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate
1 Tua Tagovailoa 2018-10-06 Alabama Arkansas W 10 13 76.9 334 4 0 394.3
2 James Morgan 2018-09-29 Florida International Arkansas-Pine Bluff W 9 14 64.3 341 4 0 363.2
3 Kyler Murray 2018-09-29 Oklahoma Baylor W 17 21 81 432 6 0 348

 

Season Passer Rating – Kyler Murray

 

Rk

Player Year Class School Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate
1 Tua Tagovailoa 2018 SO Alabama 245 355 69 3966 43 6 199.4
2 Kyler Murray 2018 JR Oklahoma 260 377 69 4361 42 7 199.2

 

College Career Passer Rating – Kyler Murray

Rk Player From To School G Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate
1 Tua Tagovailoa 2017 2018 Alabama 23 294 432 68.1 4602 54 8 195.1
2 Kyler Murray 2015 2018 29 350 519 67.4 5406 50 14 181.3

 

Percent of Games with 150+ Passer Rating Among Draft – Kyler Murray

Player From To School Count Games Per Game
Kyler Murray 2015 2018 Texas A&M/Oklahoma 13 17 76.47%
Dwayne Haskins 2017 2018 Ohio State 11 15 73.33%
Will Grier 2015 2018 Florida/West Virginia 18 27 66.67%
Jake Browning 2015 2018 Washington 25 52 48.08%
Trace McSorley 2016 2018 Penn State 19 41 46.34%
Brett Rypien 2015 2018 Boise State 22 48 45.83%
Jarrett Stidham 2015 2018 Baylor/Auburn 13 29 44.83%
Drew Lock 2015 2018 Missouri 20 46 43.48%
Eric Dungey 2015 2018 Syracuse 14 36 38.89%
Ryan Finley 2015 2018 Boise State/North Carolina State 16 42 38.10%
Kyle Shurmur 2016 2018 Vanderbilt 14 42 33.33%
David Blough 2015 2018 Purdue 11 38 28.95%
Nick Fitzgerald 2015 2018 Mississippi State 10 35 28.57%
Wilton Speight 2016 2018 Michigan/UCLA 6 23 26.09%
Gardner Minshew 2016 2018 East Carolina/Washington State 7 27 25.93%
Daniel Jones 2016 2018 Duke 9 36 25.00%
Tyree Jackson 2017 2018 Buffalo 8 32 25.00%
Clayton Thorson 2015 2018 Northwestern 10 51 19.61%

Completion Percentage

Dwayne Haskins had the best career pass completion percent in the signed 2019 draft class with a 70%.  That is good for eighth overall since 2000 for a minimum of 100 pass attempts. The highest is held by the late Tyler Hilinski with a 73.7.  The only current NFL quarterback that held a higher college completion percentage than Haskins is Colt McCoy who had a 70.3 at Texas.

The rookie record for pass completion percentage is held by Dak Prescott who had a 67.76% in 2016. Drew Brees holds four of the top five pass percentage completion seasons including the top one at 74.4% set in 2018.

In the 2018 NFL season there were 217 receivers with a minimum 25 targets. The Redskins had seven receivers to the league’s average of 6.7. The receivers are shown in the following table with the rank in the 217  based on their catch percentage.

Rk Player Pos On 2019 Team Age Draft G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Y/G Ctch% Y/Tgt
32 Adrian Peterson RB Yes 33 1-7 16 16 26 20 208 10.4 1 13 76.9% 8
48 Chris Thompson RB Yes 28 5-154 10 0 55 41 268 6.54 1 26.8 74.5% 4.87
95 Vernon Davis TE Yes 34 1-6 14 8 36 25 367 14.68 2 26.2 69.4% 10.19
137 Jordan Reed TE Yes 28 3-85 13 8 84 54 558 10.33 2 42.9 64.3% 6.64
170 Maurice Harris WR No 26 12 7 47 28 304 10.86 0 25.3 59.6% 6.47
172 Jamison Crowder WR No 25 4-105 9 7 49 29 388 13.38 2 43.1 59.2% 7.92
183 Josh Doctson WR Yes 26 1-22 15 12 78 44 532 12.09 2 35.5 56.4% 6.82

From the table it is apparent going into 2019 the Redskins lack at the wide receiver position. In the 2019 draft the selected wide receivers Terry McLaurin in round three and Kelvin Harmon in round six. They also added undrafted free agent Steven Sims.

I don’t see Haskins as challenging Dak Prescott’s rookie completion percentage record. Haskins may not even get the starting quarterback role this year as he must beat out Colt McCoy and Case Keenum. I think Kyler Murray has a better chance to challenge the record. Murray follows Haskins among active players on the pass completion percent tables for season, career and percent of games at 60% and 65%.

Game Pass Completion % – Jake Browning (active players)

Rk Player Date School Outcome Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate
19 Jake Browning 2018-09-29 Washington W 23 25 92 277 1 0 198.3
28 Jake Browning 2015-11-21 Washington W 18 20 90 211 4 0 244.6
38 Kyle Shurmur 2018-11-24 Vanderbilt W 31 35 88.6 367 3 0 204.9
42 Will Grier 2015-09-05 Florida W 15 17 88.2 164 2 0 208.1
54 Dwayne Haskins 2018-09-22 Ohio State W 21 24 87.5 304 5 0 262.7
62 Dwayne Haskins 2018-09-08 Ohio State W 20 23 87 233 4 0 229.4
69 Jarrett Stidham 2017-09-16 Auburn W 32 37 86.5 364 0 1 163.7
70 Jake Browning 2017-09-16 Washington W 19 22 86.4 255 4 0 243.7
80 Ryan Finley 2016-09-17 North Carolina State W 24 28 85.7 285 3 0 206.6
94 Eric Dungey 2016-09-02 Syracuse W 34 40 85 355 2 0 176.1

 

Season Pass Completion % – Gardner Minshew (active players)

Rk Player Year Class School G Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate
13 Jack Abraham 2018 SO Southern Mississippi 9 223 305 73.1 2347 15 10 147.4
14 Kaleb Barker 2018 JR Troy 6 92 126 73 1013 10 2 163.6
17 Jalen Hurts 2018 JR Alabama 13 51 70 72.9 765 8 2 196.7
52 Gardner Minshew 2018 SR Washington State 13 468 662 70.7 4779 38 9 147.6
62 Brent Stockstill 2018 SR Middle Tennessee State 14 326 464 70.3 3544 29 10 150.7
65 Dwayne Haskins 2017 FR Ohio State 8 40 57 70.2 565 4 1 173.1
69 Dwayne Haskins 2018 SO Ohio State 14 373 533 70 4831 50 8 174.1
103 Kyler Murray 2018 JR Oklahoma 14 260 377 69 4361 42 7 199.2
115 Jarrett Stidham 2015 FR Baylor 10 75 109 68.8 1265 12 2 199
122 Jake Browning 2017 JR Washington 13 230 336 68.5 2719 19 5 152.1
181 Ryan Finley 2018 SR North Carolina State 13 326 484 67.4 3928 25 11 148

 

Career Pass Completion % – Dwayne Haskins (active players)

Rk Player From To School G Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate
1 Tyler Hilinski 2016 2017 Washington State 11 154 209 73.7 1421 9 8 137.4
2 Jack Abraham 2018 2018 Southern Mississippi 9 223 305 73.1 2347 15 10 147.4
4 Kaleb Barker 2016 2018 Troy 19 103 143 72 1165 11 2 163
6 Colt McCoy 2006 2009 Texas 53 1157 1645 70.3 13253 112 45 155
8 Dwayne Haskins 2017 2018 Ohio State 22 413 590 70 5396 54 9 174
16 Case Keenum 2007 2011 Houston 57 1546 2229 69.4 19217 155 46 160.6
44 Kyler Murray 2015 2018 29 350 519 67.4 5406 50 14 181.3
89 Will Grier 2015 2018 28 621 945 65.7 8556 81 23 165.2
95 Brent Stockstill 2014 2018 Middle Tennessee State 45 1054 1609 65.5 12483 106 35 148.1

 

Percent of Career Games with 60% completion % – Dwayne Haskins

The average completion percentage in 2018 was 59.9%.

Rk Player From To W L Count 60% Count 65% Games Per Game 60% Per Game 65%
81 Dwayne Haskins 2017 2018 17 1 13 10 15 86.67% 66.67%
95 Kyler Murray 2015 2018 16 1 12 11 17 70.59% 64.71%
61 Will Grier 2015 2018 17 3 19 15 27 70.37% 55.56%
33 Jarrett Stidham 2015 2018 22 3 18 16 29 62.07% 55.17%
6 Brett Rypien 2015 2018 29 5 32 25 48 66.67% 52.08%
72 Gardner Minshew 2016 2018 12 7 18 13 27 66.67% 48.15%
2 Jake Browning 2015 2018 31 6 36 24 52 69.23% 46.15%
15 Ryan Finley 2015 2018 22 8 29 19 42 69.05% 45.24%
41 David Blough 2015 2018 11 11 19 14 38 50.00% 36.84%
35 Eric Dungey 2015 2018 13 11 23 13 36 63.89% 36.11%
52 Daniel Jones 2016 2018 11 10 21 12 36 58.33% 33.33%
65 Trace McSorley 2015 2018 17 3 18 13 41 43.90% 31.71%
74 Kyle Shurmur 2016 2018 13 6 19 13 42 45.24% 30.95%
40 Drew Lock 2015 2018 19 4 20 12 46 43.48% 26.09%
19 Wilton Speight 2016 2018 9 4 13 6 23 56.52% 26.09%
34 Clayton Thorson 2015 2018 19 6 24 13 51 47.06% 25.49%
4 Nick Fitzgerald 2015 2018 13 2 13 7 35 37.14% 20.00%
7 Tyree Jackson 2016 2018 7 4 11 2 32 34.38% 6.25%

Passing Yards And Touchdowns

Will Grier was chosen by the Panthers in round three of the 2019 NFL draft. He is the leader among the signed  2019 draft class in passing yards per game and passing touchdowns per game. Grier had the second highest passing yards game among signed draft players with 539 yards in a game the Mountaineers lost. He had the second (351 yards)  and fourth best (317 yards)  season for passing yards per game among the group. Grier also had the top career passing yards in the group of 2019 rookies (306 yards). He had 79% of his career games with 230+ passing yards  which is tops among 2019 rookies. In 2018 Grier had the second most passing yards per game.

The rookie record in passing yards per game is held by Nick Mullens with 284.6 yards in 2018. He is closely followed by Patrick Mahomes at 284.0 yards set in 2017.  A new record was set each of the last two years. In the nine decades of the NFL the leader’s average passing yards per game has increased every decade except for two.

Grier had the third most games with 5+ touchdowns in the group. He had the third most season passing touchdowns per game with 3.36. Grier had the highest career passing touchdowns per game in the group with 2.89. In the group Grier also had the highest percent of games with 4+ passing touchdowns with 36%.

The rookie records for passing touchdowns for quarterbacks that started more than one game is Deshaun Watson for touchdowns per game and Baker Mayfield for total touchdowns. Watson started six games and played in seven his rookie season. He had 19 touchdowns for 2.71 touchdowns per game.  Mayfield played in 14 games and started 13. He had 27 touchdowns his rookie year.  In 2018 Grier had the fifth most passing touchdowns.

Grier is my dark horse candidate to start some games in 2019. Cam Newton has endured shoulder injuries two of the last three seasons. His statistics over these three seasons are 59.8% completion percent, 65 TDs to 43 Interceptions, a quarterback rating of 83.3 and a 23-21 win/loss record. They made the playoffs one of those three seasons with a one and done outcome. He admitted after the 2018 season that he could not throw the ball further than 30 yards downfield. Newton has had off season surgery on the shoulder and hopes are that he returns to his old Pro-Bowl form.  Reports out of the start of training camp are that Newton connected on several deep balls and looked good. However if Newton falters during the season it is not out of the question that Grier could be called in. Pro Football Focus graded Grier as among the tops in the last two draft classes in overall grade and passing grade. The only two players to post higher numbers were  Baker Mayfield & Kyler Murray. If Grier starts at all he could challenge the rookie records for Per Game passing numbers on yards and touchdowns.

Game Passing Yards And Won – Drew Lock (active players)

Rk Player Date School Result Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate
13 David Blough 2018-09-15 Purdue L 39 55 70.9 572 3 1 172.6
24 Will Grier 2018-11-23 West Virginia L 32 49 65.3 539 4 0 184.6
31 Drew Lock 2017-09-02 Missouri W 21 34 61.8 521 7 1 252.5
48 Brett Rypien 2015-11-14 Boise State L 40 74 54.1 503 2 3 112
51 Dwayne Haskins 2018-12-01 Ohio State W 34 41 82.9 499 5 1 220.5
86 Ryan Finley 2018-10-27 North Carolina State L 26 44 59.1 473 3 1 167.3
87 Gardner Minshew 2018-11-17 Washington State W 43 55 78.2 473 7 0 192.4
96 Dwayne Haskins 2018-10-20 Ohio State L 49 73 67.1 470 2 1 127.5
98 Gardner Minshew 2018-09-15 Washington State W 45 57 78.9 470 2 0 159.8
99 Brett Rypien 2015-10-31 Boise State W 35 52 67.3 469 2 0 155.8

 

Season Passing Yards per Game  – Gardner Minshew

Rk Player Year Class School G Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Per Game
7 Gardner Minshew 2018 SR Washington State 13 468 662 70.7 4779 38 9 147.6 367.6
51 Will Grier 2018 SR West Virginia 11 266 397 67 3864 37 8 175.5 351.3
5 Dwayne Haskins 2018 SO Ohio State 14 373 533 70 4831 50 8 174.1 345.1
94 Will Grier 2017 JR West Virginia 11 250 388 64.4 3490 34 12 162.7 317.3
20 Kyler Murray 2018 JR Oklahoma 14 260 377 69 4361 42 7 199.2 311.5
35 Brent Stockstill 2015 FR Middle Tennessee State 13 326 489 66.7 3993 30 9 151.8 307.2
41 Drew Lock 2017 JR Missouri 13 242 419 57.8 3964 44 13 165.7 304.9
43 Ryan Finley 2018 SR North Carolina State 13 326 484 67.4 3928 25 11 148 302.2
64 David Blough 2018 SR Purdue 13 305 462 66 3705 25 10 146.9 285.0
65 Brett Rypien 2018 SR Boise State 13 301 447 67.3 3705 30 7 156 285.0
71 Brett Rypien 2016 SO Boise State 13 244 394 61.9 3646 24 8 155.7 280.5
77 Trace McSorley 2017 JR Penn State 13 284 427 66.5 3570 28 10 153.7 274.6
91 Ryan Finley 2017 JR North Carolina State 13 311 478 65.1 3514 17 6 136 270.3
93 Drew Lock 2018 SR Missouri 13 275 437 62.9 3498 28 8 147.7 269.1
73 Trace McSorley 2016 SO Penn State 14 224 387 57.9 3614 29 8 156.9 258.1
83 Brent Stockstill 2018 SR Middle Tennessee State 14 326 464 70.3 3544 29 10 150.7 253.1

 

Career Passing Yards Per Game – Will Grier

Rk Player From To School G Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Per Game
41 Will Grier 2015 2018 28 621 945 65.7 8556 81 23 165.2 305.6
4 Brent Stockstill 2014 2018 Middle Tennessee State 45 1054 1609 65.5 12483 106 35 148.1 277.4
45 Gardner Minshew 2016 2018 30 761 1168 65.2 8266 62 20 138.7 275.5
3 Brett Rypien 2015 2018 Boise State 50 1035 1617 64 13578 90 29 149.3 271.6
7 Drew Lock 2015 2018 Missouri 50 883 1553 56.9 12193 99 39 138.8 243.9
9 Ryan Finley 2014 2018 46 938 1461 64.2 11147 63 30 138.4 242.3
29 Eric Dungey 2015 2018 Syracuse 39 786 1279 61.5 9340 58 30 133.1 239.5
5 Jake Browning 2015 2018 Washington 53 958 1484 64.6 12296 94 34 150.5 232.0
46 Daniel Jones 2016 2018 Duke 36 764 1275 59.9 8201 52 29 122.9 227.8
26 David Blough 2015 2018 Purdue 44 871 1429 61 9734 69 43 128.1 221.2
67 Tyree Jackson 2016 2018 Buffalo 32 533 955 55.8 6999 49 24 129.3 218.7
23 Trace McSorley 2015 2018 Penn State 46 720 1215 59.3 9899 77 25 144.5 215.2
12 Clayton Thorson 2015 2018 Northwestern 53 991 1696 58.4 10731 61 45 118.1 202.5
35 Kyle Shurmur 2015 2018 Vanderbilt 44 722 1264 57.1 8865 64 29 128.2 201.5
64 Jarrett Stidham 2015 2018 37 545 848 64.3 7217 48 13 151.4 195.1
86 Nick Fitzgerald 2015 2018 Mississippi State 44 511 942 54.2 6207 55 30 122.5 141.1

 

Percent of Career Games with 230+ Passing Yards  – Will Grier

Average passing yards per game surpassed 230 yards in 2018.

Rk Player From To School W L T Count G Per Game
29 Will Grier 2015 2018 Florida/West Virginia 17 5 0 22 28 78.57%
5 Brett Rypien 2015 2018 Boise State 23 9 0 32 49 65.31%
10 Ryan Finley 2015 2018 Boise State/North Carolina State 17 11 0 28 46 60.87%
59 Gardner Minshew 2016 2018 East Carolina/Washington State 12 6 0 18 30 60.00%
100 Dwayne Haskins 2018 2018 Ohio State 12 1 0 13 22 59.09%
12 Drew Lock 2015 2018 Missouri 17 10 0 27 50 54.00%
39 Eric Dungey 2015 2018 Syracuse 12 8 0 20 39 51.28%
15 Jake Browning 2015 2018 Washington 19 6 0 25 52 48.08%
35 Trace McSorley 2016 2018 Penn State 16 5 0 21 45 46.67%
37 David Blough 2015 2018 Purdue 10 10 0 20 44 45.45%
69 Daniel Jones 2016 2018 Duke 7 9 0 16 36 44.44%
90 Tyree Jackson 2016 2018 Buffalo 8 6 0 14 32 43.75%
85 Jarrett Stidham 2015 2018 Baylor/Auburn 12 3 0 15 37 40.54%
36 Clayton Thorson 2015 2018 Northwestern 15 6 0 21 52 40.38%
131 Kyler Murray 2018 2018 Oklahoma 9 2 0 11 29 37.93%
70 Kyle Shurmur 2016 2018 Vanderbilt 8 8 0 16 44 36.36%
246 Wilton Speight 2016 2018 Michigan/UCLA 4 2 0 6 28 21.43%
178 Nick Fitzgerald 2016 2018 Mississippi State 7 1 0 8 44 18.18%

 

Game Passing Touchdowns – Drew Lock, Gardner Minshew

In 2018 college football averaged 3.77 Touchdowns per game which was number 2 all time.

Player Date School Opponent Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate
Drew Lock 2017-09-02 Missouri Missouri State W 21 34 61.8 521 7 1 252.5
Gardner Minshew 2018-11-17 Washington State Arizona W 43 55 78.2 473 7 0 192.4
Jake Browning 2016-10-08 Washington Oregon W 22 28 78.6 304 6 0 240.5
Jake Browning 2016-11-05 Washington California W 19 28 67.9 378 6 0 252
Dwayne Haskins 2018-11-24 Ohio State Michigan W 20 31 64.5 396 6 0 235.7
Dwayne Haskins 2018-10-06 Ohio State Indiana W 33 44 75 455 6 2 197.8
Tyree Jackson 2018-09-01 Buffalo Delaware State W 17 27 63 189 6 0 195.1
Drew Lock 2017-10-21 Missouri Idaho W 23 33 69.7 467 6 1 242.5
Kyler Murray 2018-09-29 Oklahoma Baylor W 17 21 81 432 6 0 348
David Blough 2016-10-15 Purdue Iowa L 30 59 50.8 458 5 1 140.6
Jake Browning 2016-09-10 Washington Idaho W 23 28 82.1 294 5 0 229.3
Eric Dungey 2018-09-08 Syracuse Wagner W 23 32 71.9 218 5 1 174.4
Nick Fitzgerald 2016-10-29 Mississippi State Samford W 20 35 57.1 417 5 2 192.9
Will Grier 2018-09-22 West Virginia Kansas State W 25 35 71.4 356 5 2 192.6
Will Grier 2017-09-09 West Virginia East Carolina W 19 25 76 352 5 0 260.3
Will Grier 2017-10-21 West Virginia Baylor W 26 37 70.3 375 5 0 200
Will Grier 2018-09-01 West Virginia Tennessee W 25 34 73.5 429 5 0 228
Will Grier 2017-10-14 West Virginia Texas Tech W 32 41 78 352 5 1 185.5
Dwayne Haskins 2018-12-01 Ohio State Northwestern W 34 41 82.9 499 5 1 220.5
Dwayne Haskins 2018-09-22 Ohio State Tulane W 21 24 87.5 304 5 0 262.7
Dwayne Haskins 2018-09-01 Ohio State Oregon State W 22 30 73.3 313 5 1 209.3
Daniel Jones 2018-12-27 Duke Temple W 30 41 73.2 423 5 2 190.3
Drew Lock 2016-09-10 Missouri Eastern Michigan W 24 37 64.9 450 5 0 211.6
Drew Lock 2016-09-24 Missouri Delaware State W 26 36 72.2 402 5 0 211.9
Drew Lock 2017-11-24 Missouri Arkansas W 25 42 59.5 448 5 2 178.9
Drew Lock 2017-10-28 Missouri Connecticut W 31 37 83.8 377 5 0 214
Gardner Minshew 2018-10-06 Washington State Oregon State W 30 40 75 430 5 0 206.6
Brett Rypien 2016-10-07 Boise State New Mexico W 21 28 75 391 5 0 251.2
Brett Rypien 2018-10-27 Boise State Air Force W 20 34 58.8 399 5 0 205.9
Jarrett Stidham 2018-12-28 Auburn Purdue W 15 21 71.4 373 5 0 299.2

 

Season Passing Touchdowns Per Game – Dwayne Haskins

Rk Player Year Class School G Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Per G
1 Dwayne Haskins 2018 SO Ohio State 14 373 533 70 4831 50 8 174.1 3.57
6 Drew Lock 2017 JR Missouri 13 242 419 57.8 3964 44 13 165.7 3.38
24 Will Grier 2018 SR West Virginia 11 266 397 67 3864 37 8 175.5 3.36
55 Brent Stockstill 2016 SO Middle Tennessee State 10 262 414 63.3 3233 31 7 150.2 3.10
38 Will Grier 2017 JR West Virginia 11 250 388 64.4 3490 34 12 162.7 3.09
7 Jake Browning 2016 SO Washington 14 243 391 62.1 3430 43 9 167.5 3.07
12 Kyler Murray 2018 JR Oklahoma 14 260 377 69 4361 42 7 199.2 3.00
22 Gardner Minshew 2018 SR Washington State 13 468 662 70.7 4779 38 9 147.6 2.92
65 Brett Rypien 2018 SR Boise State 13 301 447 67.3 3705 30 7 156 2.31
67 Brent Stockstill 2015 FR Middle Tennessee State 13 326 489 66.7 3993 30 9 151.8 2.31

 

Passing Touchdowns Per Game Career – Will Grier

Rk Player From To School G Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Per Game
16 Will Grier 2015 2018 28 621 945 65.7 8556 81 23 165.2 2.89
61 Dwayne Haskins 2017 2018 Ohio State 22 413 590 70 5396 54 9 174 2.45
3 Brent Stockstill 2014 2018 Middle Tennessee State 45 1054 1609 65.5 12483 106 35 148.1 2.36
44 Gardner Minshew 2016 2018 30 761 1168 65.2 8266 62 20 138.7 2.07
5 Drew Lock 2015 2018 Missouri 50 883 1553 56.9 12193 99 39 138.8 1.98
12 Brett Rypien 2015 2018 Boise State 50 1035 1617 64 13578 90 29 149.3 1.80
7 Jake Browning 2015 2018 Washington 53 958 1484 64.6 12296 94 34 150.5 1.77
77 Kyler Murray 2015 2018 29 350 519 67.4 5406 50 14 181.3 1.72
19 Trace McSorley 2015 2018 Penn State 46 720 1215 59.3 9899 77 25 144.5 1.67
30 David Blough 2015 2018 Purdue 44 871 1429 61 9734 69 43 128.1 1.57
78 Tyree Jackson 2016 2018 Buffalo 32 533 955 55.8 6999 49 24 129.3 1.53
50 Eric Dungey 2015 2018 Syracuse 39 786 1279 61.5 9340 58 30 133.1 1.49
38 Kyle Shurmur 2015 2018 Vanderbilt 44 722 1264 57.1 8865 64 29 128.2 1.45
66 Daniel Jones 2016 2018 Duke 36 764 1275 59.9 8201 52 29 122.9 1.44
39 Ryan Finley 2014 2018 46 938 1461 64.2 11147 63 30 138.4 1.37
83 Jarrett Stidham 2015 2018 37 545 848 64.3 7217 48 13 151.4 1.30
58 Nick Fitzgerald 2015 2018 Mississippi State 44 511 942 54.2 6207 55 30 122.5 1.25
45 Clayton Thorson 2015 2018 Northwestern 53 991 1696 58.4 10731 61 45 118.1 1.15
175 Wilton Speight 2015 2018 28 383 645 59.4 4719 28 16 130.2 1.00

 

Percent of Games With 4+ Passing Touchdowns – Will Grier

Rk Player From To School W L T Count G Per Games
7 Will Grier 2015 2018 Florida/West Virginia 9 1 0 10 28 35.71%
28 Dwayne Haskins 2018 2018 Ohio State 6 0 0 6 22 27.27%
6 Drew Lock 2016 2018 Missouri 10 1 0 11 50 22.00%
20 Jake Browning 2015 2017 Washington 7 0 0 7 52 13.46%
73 Gardner Minshew 2017 2018 East Carolina/Washington State 4 0 0 4 30 13.33%
34 Brett Rypien 2016 2018 Boise State 6 0 0 6 49 12.24%
39 David Blough 2015 2018 Purdue 2 3 0 5 44 11.36%
100 Kyler Murray 2018 2018 Oklahoma 2 1 0 3 29 10.34%
72 Trace McSorley 2016 2017 Penn State 3 1 0 4 45 8.89%
105 Kyle Shurmur 2017 2017 Vanderbilt 2 1 0 3 44 6.82%
90 Nick Fitzgerald 2016 2018 Mississippi State 3 0 0 3 44 6.82%
133 Tyree Jackson 2017 2018 Buffalo 2 0 0 2 32 6.25%
134 Daniel Jones 2018 2018 Duke 1 1 0 2 36 5.56%
288 Wilton Speight 2016 2016 Michigan 1 0 0 1 28 3.57%
290 Jarrett Stidham 2018 2018 Auburn 1 0 0 1 37 2.70%
203 Eric Dungey 2018 2018 Syracuse 1 0 0 1 39 2.56%
212 Ryan Finley 2018 2018 North Carolina State 1 0 0 1 46 2.17%
Clayton Thorson 2015 2018 Northwestern 0 52 0.00%

Rushing Yards And Touchdowns

Nick Fitzgerald was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Buccaneers following the 2019 draft. In 2018 Fitzgerald had the second most rushing yards among quarterbacks. Fitzgerald leads rookie quarterbacks in Game rushing yards with 258 yards on 11-26-2016. He leads all rookie quarterbacks in season rushing yards per game for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 seasons. Fitzgerald leads rookie quarterbacks in career rushing yards per game with 82 yards. Lastly he leads rookie quarterbacks in percent of career games of 100+ rushing yards with 48%.

Fitzgerald leads the rookie quarterback s in game rushing touchdowns with the top two games of four rushing touchdowns. He leads the rookie quarterbacks in season rushing touchdowns per game holding the top two spots for 2016 and 2017 and then also the fourth spot for 2018. Fitzgerald has the most career rushing touchdowns per game among the rookie quarterbacks. Lastly he leads the rookie quarterback in percent of career ames with 2+ rushing touchdowns with a whopping 36%. The next rookie is Eric Dungey at 20%.

The rookie records for a Taysom Hill type role are held by Richie Lucas and Kodell Stewart. Their stats are shown in the following table. Taysom Hill’s stats are also shown but those are for his second year in the league. Hill was only utilized on 12 special teams plays his rookie year.

Passing Rushing Receiving
Player Year Tm G GS Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Rate Y/A Att Yds Y/A TD Tgt Rec Yds TD
Richie Lucas 1960 BUF 14 7 23 49 46.94 314 2 56 6.41 38 138 3.63 2 5 58 1
Kordell Stewart 1995 PIT 10 2 5 7 71.43 60 1 136.9 8.57 15 86 5.73 1 20 14 235 1
Taysom Hill 2018 NOR 16 4 3 7 42.86 64 0 36.3 9.14 37 196 5.3 2 7 3 4 0

 

Game Rushing Yards – Nick Fitzgerald

Player Date School Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD
Nick Fitzgerald 2016-11-26 Mississippi State W 8 17 47.1 109 3 0 159.2 14 258 18.4 2
Eric Dungey 2018-08-31 Syracuse W 7 17 41.2 184 2 0 170.9 15 200 13.3 1
Nick Fitzgerald 2016-09-10 Mississippi State W 19 29 65.5 178 2 1 132.9 17 195 11.5 0
Nick Fitzgerald 2018-10-06 Mississippi State W 9 17 52.9 69 0 1 75.3 28 195 7 2
Daniel Jones 2018-11-10 Duke W 31 54 57.4 361 3 1 128.2 15 186 12.4 1
Nick Fitzgerald 2016-11-05 Mississippi State W 18 31 58.1 209 2 2 123.1 20 182 9.1 2
Trace McSorley 2018-09-29 Penn State L 16 32 50 286 2 0 145.7 25 175 7 0
Nick Fitzgerald 2018-09-08 Mississippi State W 11 27 40.7 154 2 1 105.7 19 159 8.4 0
Kyler Murray 2015-10-31 Texas A&M W 20 28 71.4 223 1 0 150.1 20 156 7.8 1

 

Game Rushing Yards Per Game Season – Nick Fitzgerald

Player Year School G Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD Per Game
Nick Fitzgerald 2016 Mississippi State 13 196 361 54.3 2423 21 10 124.3 195 1375 7.1 16 105.8
Nick Fitzgerald 2018 Mississippi State 12 145 281 51.6 1767 16 9 116.8 221 1121 5.1 13 93.4
Nick Fitzgerald 2017 Mississippi State 12 159 286 55.6 1782 15 11 117.5 162 984 6.1 14 82.0
Kyler Murray 2018 Oklahoma 14 260 377 69 4361 42 7 199.2 140 1001 7.2 12 71.5
Trace McSorley 2018 Penn State 13 192 361 53.2 2530 18 7 124.6 170 798 4.7 12 61.4
Eric Dungey 2018 Syracuse 13 226 371 60.9 2868 18 9 137 184 754 4.1 15 58.0

 

Rushing Yards Per Game Career – Nick Fitzgerald

Player From To G Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD Per Game
Nick Fitzgerald 2015 2018 44 511 942 54.2 6207 55 30 122.5 601 3607 6 46 82.0
Eric Dungey 2015 2018 39 786 1279 61.5 9340 58 30 133.1 543 1993 3.7 35 51.1
Kyler Murray 2015 2018 29 350 519 67.4 5406 50 14 181.3 207 1478 7.1 13 51.0
Trace McSorley 2015 2018 45 706 1188 59.4 9757 75 25 145 466 1666 3.6 30 37.0
Daniel Jones 2016 2018 36 764 1275 59.9 8201 52 29 122.9 406 1323 3.3 17 36.8
Tyree Jackson 2016 2018 32 533 955 55.8 6999 49 24 129.3 201 757 3.8 16 23.7
Dwayne Haskins 2017 2018 22 413 590 70 5396 54 9 174 103 194 1.9 4 8.8
Drew Lock 2015 2018 50 883 1553 56.9 12193 99 39 138.8 202 437 2.2 9 8.7
Ryan Finley 2014 2018 46 938 1461 64.2 11147 63 30 138.4 214 382 1.8 5 8.3
Clayton Thorson 2015 2018 52 983 1676 58.7 10674 61 43 119 350 385 1.1 27 7.4
Jarrett Stidham 2015 2018 37 545 848 64.3 7217 48 13 151.4 211 224 1.1 9 6.1
David Blough 2015 2018 44 871 1429 61 9734 69 43 128.1 264 262 1 13 6.0
Jake Browning 2015 2018 52 935 1450 64.5 12012 94 34 150.8 266 216 0.8 16 4.2

 

Percent of Games with 100+ Yards Rushing – Nick Fitzgerald

Player From To School W L T Count Games Per Game
Nick Fitzgerald 2016 2018 Mississippi State 17 4 0 21 44 47.7%
Eric Dungey 2016 2018 Syracuse 4 2 0 6 39 15.4%
Kyler Murray 2015 2018 Texas A&M/Oklahoma 3 1 0 4 29 13.8%
Daniel Jones 2017 2018 Duke 2 0 0 2 36 5.6%
Trace McSorley 2018 2018 Penn State 1 1 0 2 45 4.4%
Clayton Thorson 2015 2015 Northwestern 1 0 0 1 52 1.9%

 

Game Rushing Touchdowns – Nick Fitzgerald

Rk Player Date School Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD
3 Nick Fitzgerald 2016-11-19 Mississippi State L 23 33 69.7 328 2 0 173.2 17 131 7.7 4
4 Nick Fitzgerald 2018-09-15 Mississippi State W 14 21 66.7 243 2 0 195.3 15 107 7.1 4
36 Eric Dungey 2018-11-24 Syracuse W 21 34 61.8 362 3 1 174.4 18 34 1.9 3
37 Eric Dungey 2016-10-01 Syracuse L 31 51 60.8 363 2 0 133.5 17 49 2.9 3
38 Eric Dungey 2018-09-22 Syracuse W 21 27 77.8 286 2 0 191.2 16 77 4.8 3
52 Dwayne Haskins 2018-11-17 Ohio State W 28 38 73.7 405 3 1 184 15 59 3.9 3
66 Tyree Jackson 2018-10-30 Buffalo W 20 34 58.8 358 3 0 176.4 10 22 2.2 3
82 Trace McSorley 2018-09-15 Penn State W 11 22 50 229 2 1 158.3 9 54 6 3
83 Trace McSorley 2017-10-21 Penn State W 17 26 65.4 282 1 1 161.5 11 76 6.9 3
87 Kyler Murray 2018-11-17 Oklahoma W 21 32 65.6 272 2 1 151.4 8 99 12.4 3

 

Season Rushing Touchdowns Per Game – Nick Fitzgerald

Rk Player Year G Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD Per Game
15 Nick Fitzgerald 2016 13 196 361 54.3 2423 21 10 124.3 195 1375 7.1 16 1.23
21 Nick Fitzgerald 2017 12 159 286 55.6 1782 15 11 117.5 162 984 6.1 14 1.17
16 Eric Dungey 2018 13 226 371 60.9 2868 18 9 137 184 754 4.1 15 1.15
28 Nick Fitzgerald 2018 12 145 281 51.6 1767 16 9 116.8 221 1121 5.1 13 1.08
95 Eric Dungey 2017 9 225 377 59.7 2495 14 9 122.8 143 595 4.2 9 1.00
41 Trace McSorley 2018 13 192 361 53.2 2530 18 7 124.6 170 798 4.7 12 0.92
42 Kyler Murray 2018 14 260 377 69 4361 42 7 199.2 140 1001 7.2 12 0.86
56 Trace McSorley 2017 13 284 427 66.5 3570 28 10 153.7 144 491 3.4 11 0.85
194 Eric Dungey 2016 9 230 355 64.8 2679 15 7 138.2 125 293 2.3 6 0.67
109 Clayton Thorson 2018 14 299 489 61.1 3183 17 15 121.2 78 -110 -1.4 9 0.64
146 Clayton Thorson 2017 13 262 434 60.4 2844 15 12 121.3 87 23 0.3 8 0.62
164 Daniel Jones 2016 12 270 430 62.8 2836 16 9 126.3 141 486 3.4 7 0.58
155 Jake Browning 2017 13 230 336 68.5 2719 19 5 152.1 56 25 0.4 7 0.54
163 Daniel Jones 2017 13 257 453 56.7 2691 14 11 112 161 518 3.2 7 0.54
161 Tyree Jackson 2018 14 225 407 55.3 3131 28 12 136.7 55 161 2.9 7 0.50
169 Trace McSorley 2016 14 224 387 57.9 3614 29 8 156.9 146 365 2.5 7 0.50

 

Career Rushing Touchdowns Per Game – Nick Fitzgerald

Player From To G Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD Per Game
Nick Fitzgerald 2015 2018 44 511 942 54.2 6207 55 30 122.5 601 3607 6 46 1.05
Eric Dungey 2015 2018 39 786 1279 61.5 9340 58 30 133.1 543 1993 3.7 35 0.90
Trace McSorley 2015 2018 45 706 1188 59.4 9757 75 25 145 466 1666 3.6 30 0.67
Clayton Thorson 2015 2018 52 983 1676 58.7 10674 61 43 119 350 385 1.1 27 0.52
Tyree Jackson 2016 2018 32 533 955 55.8 6999 49 24 129.3 201 757 3.8 16 0.50
Daniel Jones 2016 2018 36 764 1275 59.9 8201 52 29 122.9 406 1323 3.3 17 0.47
Kyler Murray 2015 2018 29 350 519 67.4 5406 50 14 181.3 207 1478 7.1 13 0.45
Jake Browning 2015 2018 52 935 1450 64.5 12012 94 34 150.8 266 216 0.8 16 0.31
David Blough 2015 2018 44 871 1429 61 9734 69 43 128.1 264 262 1 13 0.30
Will Grier 2015 2018 28 621 945 65.7 8556 81 23 165.2 147 148 1 7 0.25
Jarrett Stidham 2015 2018 37 545 848 64.3 7217 48 13 151.4 211 224 1.1 9 0.24
Drew Lock 2015 2018 50 883 1553 56.9 12193 99 39 138.8 202 437 2.2 9 0.18
Ryan Finley 2014 2018 46 938 1461 64.2 11147 63 30 138.4 214 382 1.8 5 0.11

 

Percent of Games with 2+ Rushing Touchdowns – Nick Fitzgerald

Rk Player From To School W L T Count Games Per Game
1 Nick Fitzgerald 2016 2018 Mississippi State 13 3 0 16 44 36.36%
8 Eric Dungey 2015 2018 Syracuse 4 4 0 8 39 20.51%
30 Tyree Jackson 2016 2018 Buffalo 4 0 0 4 32 12.50%
18 Trace McSorley 2017 2018 Penn State 5 0 0 5 45 11.11%
31 Daniel Jones 2016 2017 Duke 2 2 0 4 36 11.11%
21 Clayton Thorson 2015 2018 Northwestern 4 1 0 5 52 9.62%
93 Kyler Murray 2018 2018 Oklahoma 2 0 0 2 29 6.90%
152 Dwayne Haskins 2018 2018 Ohio State 1 0 0 1 22 4.55%
148 Will Grier 2017 2017 West Virginia 1 0 0 1 28 3.57%
113 David Blough 2016 2016 Purdue 1 0 0 1 44 2.27%
141 Ryan Finley 2017 2017 North Carolina State 1 0 0 1 46 2.17%
168 Drew Lock 2018 2018 Missouri 1 0 0 1 50 2.00%
121 Jake Browning 2016 2016 Washington 1 0 0 1 52 1.92%

Rushing Average Yards

Kyler Murray holds the top spot among 2019 rookie quarterbacks in season rushing average (7.2 yards) and career rushing average (7.1 yards).  Murray had the highest rushing average among quarterbacks in 2018 with 7.15 yards. That average was also the 15th best for all rushers. Running backs Darrell Henderson and Ty Johnson were the only 2019 draft prospects with a better rushing average.  Murray made that average on 1001 yards which was tenth most of the 15 top averages.

The record for a rookie quarterback rushing average for over 10 attempts and a minimum of one game start is held by George Mira with 9.83 yards per attempt. He is closely followed by Michael Vick at 9.32 yards per attempt. Here is a table of the top ten rookie quarterbacks for rushing average.

Rk Player Year Age Draft Tm Lg G GS Att Yds Y/A TD Y/G
1 George Mira 1964 22 2-15, 18-137AFL SFO NFL 7 2 18 177 9.83 0 25.3
2 Michael Vick 2001 21 1-1 ATL NFL 8 2 31 289 9.32 1 36.1
3 Mike Phipps 1970 23 1-3 CLE NFL 14 1 11 94 8.55 0 6.7
4 Don Majkowski 1987 23 10-255 GNB NFL 7 5 15 127 8.47 0 18.1
5 Jack Concannon 1964 21 2-16, 1-1AFL PHI NFL 4 1 16 134 8.38 1 33.5
6 Bobby Douglass 1969 22 2-41 CHI NFL 11 7 51 408 8.00 2 37.1
7 Troy Aikman* 1989 23 1-1 DAL NFL 11 11 38 302 7.95 0 27.5
8 Clyde LeForce 1947 24 19-194 DET NFL 9 2 18 143 7.94 0 15.9
9 Parnell Dickinson 1976 23 7-183 TAM NFL 8 1 13 103 7.92 0 12.9
10 Bill Munson 1964 23 1-7, 16-126AFL RAM NFL 11 8 19 150 7.89 0 13.6

This would be a tough table for Murray to crack into. In games with 10+ rushing attempts Murray has averaged 7.8+ yards per attempt in only three games. Mira’s record set back in 1964 will survive another year in my opinion.

Game Rushing Average – Tyree Jackson (min 3 attempts)

Player Date School Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD
Tyree Jackson 2018-11-14 Buffalo L 9 21 42.9 116 0 2 70.2 3 70 23.3 1
Nick Fitzgerald 2016-11-26 Mississippi State W 8 17 47.1 109 3 0 159.2 14 258 18.4 2
Clayton Thorson 2015-10-24 Northwestern W 13 28 46.4 177 1 0 111.3 9 126 14 1
Eric Dungey 2018-08-31 Syracuse W 7 17 41.2 184 2 0 170.9 15 200 13.3 1
Kyler Murray 2018-11-23 Oklahoma W 20 27 74.1 364 3 1 216.6 9 114 12.7 1
Daniel Jones 2018-11-10 Duke W 31 54 57.4 361 3 1 128.2 15 186 12.4 1
Kyler Murray 2018-11-17 Oklahoma W 21 32 65.6 272 2 1 151.4 8 99 12.4 3
Jarrett Stidham 2017-10-21 Auburn W 19 28 67.9 218 0 1 126.1 4 49 12.3 1
Nick Fitzgerald 2016-09-10 Mississippi State W 19 29 65.5 178 2 1 132.9 17 195 11.5 0
Nick Fitzgerald 2017-09-09 Mississippi State W 12 18 66.7 124 3 1 168.4 10 111 11.1 2
David Blough 2016-09-10 Purdue L 32 57 56.1 401 2 5 109.3 3 33 11 0

 

Season Rushing Average – Kyler Murray

Rk Player Year Class G Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD
25 Kyler Murray 2018 JR 14 260 377 69 4361 42 7 199.2 140 1001 7.2 12
26 Nick Fitzgerald 2016 SO 13 196 361 54.3 2423 21 10 124.3 195 1375 7.1 16
59 Kyler Murray 2015 FR 8 72 121 59.5 686 5 7 109.2 53 335 6.3 1
72 Nick Fitzgerald 2017 JR 12 159 286 55.6 1782 15 11 117.5 162 984 6.1 14
148 Nick Fitzgerald 2018 SR 12 145 281 51.6 1767 16 9 116.8 221 1121 5.1 13
201 Trace McSorley 2018 SR 13 192 361 53.2 2530 18 7 124.6 170 798 4.7 12
270 Clayton Thorson 2015 FR 12 142 275 51.6 1465 7 7 99.7 88 374 4.3 5
279 Eric Dungey 2017 JR 9 225 377 59.7 2495 14 9 122.8 143 595 4.2 9
285 Tyree Jackson 2017 SO 8 143 237 60.3 2096 12 3 148.8 47 197 4.2 4
301 Eric Dungey 2018 SR 13 226 371 60.9 2868 18 9 137 184 754 4.1 15

 

Career Rushing Average – Kyler Murray

FBS Rushing average as 4.505 yards per play in 2018.

Player From To School G Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD
Kyler Murray 2015 2018 29 350 519 67.4 5406 50 14 181.3 207 1478 7.1 13
Nick Fitzgerald 2015 2018 Mississippi State 44 511 942 54.2 6207 55 30 122.5 601 3607 6 46
Tyree Jackson 2016 2018 Buffalo 32 533 955 55.8 6999 49 24 129.3 201 757 3.8 16
Eric Dungey 2015 2018 Syracuse 39 786 1279 61.5 9340 58 30 133.1 543 1993 3.7 35
Trace McSorley 2015 2018 Penn State 45 706 1188 59.4 9757 75 25 145 466 1666 3.6 30
Daniel Jones 2016 2018 Duke 36 764 1275 59.9 8201 52 29 122.9 406 1323 3.3 17

 

Percent of games with rushing average of 4.5+ yards – Nick Fitzgerald

Rk Player From To School W L T Count G Per Game
3 Nick Fitzgerald 2016 2018 Mississippi State 21 5 0 26 44 59.1%
18 Kyler Murray 2015 2018 Texas A&M/Oklahoma 12 3 0 15 29 51.7%
10 Trace McSorley 2016 2018 Penn State 16 1 0 17 45 37.8%
44 Daniel Jones 2016 2018 Duke 7 3 0 10 36 27.8%
25 Drew Lock 2015 2018 Missouri 6 7 0 13 50 26.0%
42 Eric Dungey 2015 2018 Syracuse 5 5 0 10 39 25.6%
90 Tyree Jackson 2016 2018 Buffalo 3 4 0 7 32 21.9%
65 David Blough 2015 2018 Purdue 5 3 0 8 44 18.2%
145 Will Grier 2015 2017 Florida/West Virginia 4 1 0 5 28 17.9%
113 Ryan Finley 2016 2018 North Carolina State 5 1 0 6 46 13.0%
129 Clayton Thorson 2015 2017 Northwestern 5 1 0 6 52 11.5%
107 Jake Browning 2016 2018 Washington 6 0 0 6 52 11.5%
217 Jarrett Stidham 2015 2018 Baylor/Auburn 3 1 0 4 37 10.8%
321 Dwayne Haskins 2018 2018 Ohio State 2 0 0 2 22 9.1%
356 Wilton Speight 2016 2016 Michigan 2 0 0 2 28 7.1%
501 Brett Rypien 2017 2017 Boise State 1 0 0 1 49 2.0%

In Conclusion

Here is a summary table of the top rookies for each category

Statistic Top Rookie Value
Game Passer Rating Kyler Murray 348
Season Passer Rating Kyler Murray 199
Career Passer rating Kyler Murray 181
Percent Games 150+ Passer Rating Kyler Murray 76.47%
Game Pass Completion Jake Browning 92.00%
Season Pass Completion Gardner Minshew 71.00%
Career Pass Completion Dwayne Haskins 70.00%
Percent Games 60% Pass Completion Dwayne Haskins 86.67%
Game Passing Yards (won) Drew Lock 521
Season Passing Yards/Game Gardner Minshew 368
Career Passing Yards/Game Will Grier 306
Percent Games 230+ Passing Yards Will Grier 79.00%
Game Passing Touchdowns Drew Lock, Gardner Minshew 7
Season Passing Touchdowns Per Game Dwayne Haskins 3.6
Career Passing Tds Per Game Will Grier 2.9
Percent Games 4+ Passing TDS Will Grier 36.00%
Game Rushing Yards Nick Fitzgerald 258
Season Rushing Yards Per Game Nick Fitzgerald 106
Career Rushing Yards Per Game Nick Fitzgerald 82
Percent Games 100+ Rushing Yards Nick Fitzgerald 48.00%
Games Rushing Average Tyree Jackson 23
Season Rushing Average Kyler Murray 7
Career Rushing Average Kyler Murray 7
Percent games 4.5+ rushing Average Nick Fitzgerald 59.00%
Game Rushing Touchdowns Nick Fitzgerald 4
Season Rushing Touchdowns Per Game Nick Fitzgerald 1.23
Careere Rushing Touchdowns Per Game Nick Fitzgerald 1.05
Percent games 2+ Rushing TDS Nick Fitzgerald 36.40%

Here are my projections for the start of the season with regard to these featured rookies

Kyler Murray – Starting Quarterback

Dwayne Haskins – Backup to Case Keenum

Will Grier – Backup to Cam Newton after beating out Taylor Heinicke

Nick Fitzgerald – third quarterback after beating out Ryan Griffin

Jake Browning – third quarterback after Sean Mannion is released and Kyle Sloter wins the backup role.

Gardner Minshew – Backup to Nick Foles after Tanner Lee is released and Alex McGough gets the 3rd quarterback spot.

Drew Lock – Tough competition at the Broncos among the three backups ( for what will probably be two backup spots).  Too close to call. All three have a shot to make the team -Drew Lock, Kevin Hogan and Brett Rypien.

Tyree Jackson – I see Jackson winning the backup role and Matt Matt Barkley being cut.

Only six days to the Hall of Fame Game and the unofficial start of the 2019 season. It will be interesting to see how these rookie quarterbacks do, if they make the cuts and maybe some rookie records can be broken.

 

Backup Quarterbacks And College Performance

This is a look at the league’s backup quarterbacks that met a specific criteria in their college career. Specifically the criteria is that in college they had 30% or better of their regular season games with

  1. a 150+ passer rating,
  2. a 65% or better completion percentage, and
  3. 16+ passing attempts.

The query link is College Query.  This yielded 20% of the backup quarterbacks and 44% of the starting quarterbacks. I used the ourlads,com depth charts to determine the 2019 starters and backups. This for instance had Redskin quarterback rookie Dwayne Haskins as the starter.

Here are the quarterbacks that met the criteria. Only backup quarterbacks are discussed but all that meet the criteria are listed.

AFC East

New York Jets

Sam Darnold (37%),

Luke Falk (36%)

The Jets kept two quarterbacks on their 53 man roster in 2018. Currently there are four quarterbacks. On the Ourlads.com depth charts Luke Falk is listed as the third backup quarterback behind Trevor Siemian and Davis Webb. Falk had 36% of his college games meet the criteria.

In college Falk was an accurate passer. He was in the top five in the FBS in pass completion percentage each of his last three seasons with two seasons being second. He was also a touchdown maker. He is tenth among career leaders in the FBS for touchdown passes with 119. Of his 119 passing touchdowns 80 came from within the red zone. Over his last three years at Washington State Falk had a completion percentage of 60.3% and a passing efficiency rating of 169.1 in the red zone.

Since being drafted by the Titans in the sixth round of the 2018 draft, Falk was injured for the 2018 season and did not play. Luke won the 2017 Burlsworth Trophy awarded to the most outstanding college football player who began his college career as a walk-on. Falk is the great combination of super-competitive and all round team-player.

Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins

None

One caveat is that college stats for Miami’s Ryan Fitzpatrick were not available. So maybe he meets the criteria.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

Robert Griffin III (44%)

In his college career 44% of Griffin’s games met the criteria. He was one of only ten backups to have over 40% of games meet the criteria.  In his final year in college in 2011, Griffin’s passer rating of 189.5 was second in the FBS and his completion percentage of 72.4% was fifth. That season he was AP Player of the Year and a Consensus All -American. He won the Davey O’Brien Award, the Heisman Trophy and the Manning Award. He met Bill Parcells’ seven rules for drafting a quarterback.

In the NFL Griffin made my list of eight quarterback phenoms.  In his rookie year Griffin made the NFL All-Rookie Team, the Pro Bowl and was voted AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. his rookie record was 9-6 and he helped his team make the playoffs. In succeeding years his record was 6-19 and he did not start in 2018 for the Ravens.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger (37%),

Mason Rudolph (45%)

Rudolph had 45% of his college games meet the criteria. Only six backup quarterbacks had 45% or more of their games meet the criteria.  He is listed on ourlads.com as the second quarterback out of four total

Rudolph is the winningest quarterback in Oklahoma State history. He led the Cowboys to a 32-9 record as a starter. Rudolph finished his career holding no fewer than 54 school records, including single-season and career marks for passing yards, passing touchdowns and pass efficiency. Among FBS quarterbacks in 2017, he ranked in the top four in passing yards per completion, passing yards per attempt, total passing yards, passing yards per game, total offense and total offense yards per play. He won the Sammy Baugh Trophy and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. Rudolph met Bill Parcells’ seven rules for drafting a quarterback.

Cleveland Browns

Baker Mayfield (65%)

Cincinnati Bengals

None

AFC South

Houston Texans

Deshaun Watson (34%),

A.J. McCarron (34%)

A.J. McCarron had 34% of his games meet the criteria. In his final year in college (2013) McCarron’s passer rating of 167.2 was eighth in the FBS. He won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Maxwell Award given to the college football player of the year. In his second NFL year on the Bengals McCarron played in seven games starting three. He completed 79 of 119 passing attempts for a 66% completion percent and a 97.1 quarterback rating. Since then he has been a backup. He is listed at ourlads.com as the backup quarterback of three total.  Last year the Texans carried three quarterbacks.

Tennessee Titans

Marcus Mariota (37%),

Logan Woodside (42%)

Logan Woodside met the criteria for 42% of his games. In 2016 he was 4th in FBS for completion percentage (69.1). Woodside is 13th in NCAA  career passer rating at 162.9. After offseason or practice squad stints on the Bengals and the Titans Woodside joined the San Antonio Commanders in the short-lived Alliance of American Football. There he threw for 1,385 yards and seven touchdowns in an eight-game season before the league folded. He has since signed with the Titans again in pursuing his dream to play professional football.

Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck (45%)

Jacksonville Jaguars

None

AFC West

Denver Broncos

Kevin Hogan (33%),

Hogan had 33% of his college games meet the criteria. His last year in college (2015) Hogan had a 67.8% completion percent which was sixth in the FBS and a 171 passer rating which was fourth.  That last year 12 of his 14 games had a passer rating over 150 with four over 200. Early reports prior to training camp have Hogan starting in the Hall of Fame game.

Brett Rypien (36%)

Brett Rypien had 36% of his college games meet the criteria. Rypien made my list of the five toughest draft prospects at each position. Among 2019 draft quarterback prospects he was second in passing third down conversions (49%) and third in total third down conversions (48%).  Among the top three he had the most 3rd down attempts. Rypien was one of only seven quarterbacks in 2018 that had a game with 300+ passing yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions and an 80% or better completion percentage.

Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes (31%)

Oakland Raiders

Derek Carr (36%)

Los Angeles Chargers

None

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles

Cody Kessler (33%)

Kessler had 33% of his college games meet the criteria. In his junior year in college (2014), Kessler had a 69.7 completion percentage which was third in the FBS. His passer rating that year of 167 was fourth. In 2015 he still had half of his games with a 65+% completion percentage and a passer rating of 150+. Kessler had a tough go his rookie year (2016) in Cleveland where his record was 0-8. Yet he did have a 66% completion percentage and a 92 quarterback rating. Kessler tried again as a starter in 2018 with the Jaguars where he went 2-2 with a 65% completion percentage but only a 77 quarterback rating.

Washington Redskins

Dwayne Haskins (41%),

Case Keenum (46%),

Case Keenum had 46% of his college games meet the criteria. In college Keenum was a two time winner of the Sammy Baugh Award given to college’s top passer. Only two other players had ever won it twice going back to 1959. Keenum was in the top ten in the FBS in completion percentage for four of his five years in college. The only year he missed was 2010 when he tore his ACL and played only three games. He was in the top ten in passer rating for each of his last three years discounting his injury year of 2010. His last year in college (2011) he had a passer rating of 150 or better in 11 of his 14 games and a 65% or better completion percentage for 10. Keenum has the distinction  of having the most passing touchdowns in a college game since 2000 with nine touchdowns in a win over Rice on 10/27/2011.

In 2017 on the Vikings Keenum led the team to an 11-3 record and they made the playoffs. He had a regular season passing record of 98 which was seventh in the league and he had a 68% completion percentage.

Colt McCoy (47%)

McCoy had 47% of his college games meet the criteria. His last two college seasons (2008, 2009) McCoy was first in the FBS in completion percentage each season with a percentage of 76.7 and 70.6 His career completion percentage of 70.3 % is number two in the FBS His 2008 college passer rating of 173.8 was third in the FBS. McCoy was a Consensus All-American each of his last two college seasons. In his senior year he won the Davey O’Brien Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Manning Award and the Maxwell Award.

In the NFL over his eight year career McCoy has started 27 games and has a 7-20 record. In his last 4 seasons on the Redskins he has started six games for a 1-5 record, a 68% completion percent, 8 touchdowns, 6 interceptions and a 93.6 quarterback rating.

Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants

None

NFC North

Chicago Bears

Chase Daniel (43%)

Chase Daniel had 43% of his college games met the criteria. His junior and senior year had a completion percentage of 68.2 (9th) and 72.9 (2nd).  His senior year in 20078 his passer rating of 159.4 was tenth in the FBS.

In the NFL Daniel has been a backup for his nine year career. He has four career starts with two of those in 2018 on the Bears. In 2018 he completed 53 passes for a69.7 completion percentage, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and a 90.6 passer rating. He was 1-1 as a starter last year.

Detroit Lions

David Fales (56%)

Fales had 56% of his college games meet the criteria. Only Baker Mayfield had a higher percentage. In 2009 Fales red-shirted his freshman year at Nevada. He did not see Nevada being a good fit as they wanted more of a running quarterback. In 2010 he transferred to community college Monterey Peninsula. There he was a two-time, first-team All-Coast Conference quarterback. He led his team to a 2011 Coast Conference co-championship and a berth in the Sierra Central Credit Union Bowl. As a sophomore at Monterey Peninsula, he ranked among the state’s top-10 in number of completions, completion percentage, passing yards, touchdown passes and passing efficiency. Fales accepted an offer from San Jose State and was named their starting quarterback for his 2012 junior year.

In 2012 Fales was first in the FBS in completion percentage with a 72.5% and was third in passer rating with a 170.8. He was second in passing plays of 10+ and 20+ yards. In addition he was third in yards per pass attempt (9.3). He led the San Jose Spartans to an 11-2 record and their first Bowl appearance since 2006. The Spartans won the 2012 Military Bowl and Fales was named the game’s MVP. Prior to the 2013 season Fales was projected as a 2014 draft first round pick. However with Fales as quarterback the Spartans went 6-6 in 2013 and did not get a Bowl invite. Nevertheless Fales finished 2013 with a 64% completion percentage, 33 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a 153 passer rating.

Since being chosen by the Bears in round six of the 2014 NFL draft, Fales has played in four games with zero starts. Fales will turn 29 in October and has exhausted his eligibility as a practice squad player.  He will compete against Tom Savage to be Matthew Stafford’s backup. The Lions kept only two quarterbacks in 2018.

Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins (33%)

Jake Browning (36%)

Browning had 36% of his college games meet the criteria. In his 2017 junior season Browning had a 68.5% completion percentage which was second in the FBS.

Browning ranked fourth among 2018 draft quarterback prospects 3rd down conversions percent (43.5%) and third in big play percent (19.7%). He had the third best passing big play percentage (22%). Browning had the ninth most 10+ yards passing plays (139) in 2018.

Browning was in the top five in the Pac-12 in passer rating each of the last three seasons. He was first in 2016 and 2017. Browning was in the top three in the Pac-12 in passing yards per attempt each of the last three seasons. Jake has a 75% career win percentage at Washington and has started 52 games over four years. He has more victories than any other player in Pac-12 Conference history. Browning holds the Washington passing touchdowns records for career, single season and single game. Jake Browning has a career passer rating of 151.9. That is seventh best among college quarterbacks over the last five years that passed for over 10,000 yards. Browning met all of Bill Parcells’ Seven Rules for drafting a quarterback.

Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers (40%)

NFC South

Carolina Panthers

Will Grier (50%)

Grier had 50% of his games in college meet the criteria. That was third most among active quarterbacks trailing only Aaron Rodgers and David Fales.  In 2018 Will Grier was second in yards per game, third in passer rating, fourth in yards per attempt, fourth in passing plays of 30+ yards and fifth in touchdowns. Grier has converted 35% of his red zone attempts into touchdowns which was fourth best among 2019 draft prospects. coming out of high school Grier was named Parade All-American Player of the Year and Mr Football USA. Prior Mr Football USA winners included Matthew Stafford, Peyton Manning and Emmitt Smith.

New Orleans Saints

Teddy Bridgewater (46%)

Bridgewater had 46% of his college games meet the criteria. In college Bridgewater was sixth in completion percentage (68.5%) his sophomore year and then improved to first (71%) his final junior year.  His career completion percentage of 68.4% is 12th in FBS history.  His passer rating also improved for seventh in 2012 at 160.5 to fifth his final year in 2013 with 171.5. In 2012 Bridgewater was the Big East Offensive Player of the Year.

In the NFL in 2014 Bridgewater made the NFL All-Rookie Team and the 2015 Pro Bowl. In 2015 Bridgewater led the Vikings to an 11-5 record and a playoff appearance. His 65.3% pass completion percentage was ninth in the league. In the 2016 preseason Bridgewater tore his ACL and was out for the season. He started the 2017 season on the PUP list and missed the first six games. When he returned he was the backup to Case Keenum. Bridgewater started his first game since 2015  with the Saints for game 16 when Brees was resting for the playoffs. He went 14 for 22, one touchdown and one interception in a loss to the Panthers.

J.T. Barrett (32%)169.8.

J.T. Barrett had 32% of his college games meet the criteria. His passer rating his college freshman year (2014) was second in the FBS at 169.8. In his last year (2017) he was eighth in passer rating with 160.1. Nine of his 2017 games had a passer rating of 150+ with three over 200. Barrett was signed by the Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He spent 2018 on and off the Saints practice squad, a total of 23 transactions, before signing a contract for 2019.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis Winston (33%)

Atlanta Falcons

None

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray (35%)

Brett Hundley (43%)

Brett Hundley had 43% of his college games meet the criteria. In his final college year (2014) his 69.1% completion percentage was fourth in the FBS. In week six of the 2017 season Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone. Hundley came in and finished the rest of the season.  His record as a starter was 3-6 that year. He had a 60.8% completion percentage and a 70.6 quarterback rating. Hundley threw for 9 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a 5.8 yards per attempt.  In August the following preseason Hundley was traded to the Seahawks for a sixth round pick. In March of 2019 he signed a one year deal with the Cardinals.

Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson (36%)

Geno Smith (32%)

Geno Smith had 32% of his college games meet the criteria. In his senior year at West Virginia Smith’s 71.2 completion percentage was second best in the FBS and his passer rating of 163.9 was fifth. Ten of his thirteen games that year had a completion percentage greater than 65%. Geno Smith is one of only 28 college quarterbacks since 200 to have 4000+ passing yards, a 65% or better completion percentage, 30+ touchdowns and less than 10 interceptions in a season. Of the 28 Smith and Derek Carr are the only two quarterbacks to do it for two seasons.

In his rookie season on the Jets Smith had an 8-8 record but he did tie Tom Brady for the most game winning drives in the league with five. That year Smith had 12 touchdown passes to 21 interceptions. In the next year, 2014, Smith started 13 games and went 3-10. His quarterback rating improved from 66.5 his rookie year to 77.5 and also his completion percentage increased form 55.8% his rookie year to 59.7%. He threw for 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. That second year Smith had the only perfect passer rating of the 2014 season in a game against the Dolphins where he passed for 358 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Next year is where things really went bad for Smith. He was involved in aan altercation with fellow Jet IK Enemkpali in August during the 2015 preseason. Smith suffered a fractured jaw and the Jets started the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick. When Smith returned healthy coach Todd Bowles decided to stay with Fitzpatrick who had gone 2-0 in Smith’s absence.  Smith was the backu[p for the rest of the season.

In the 2016 season the Jets again started Fitzpatrick. Smith relived a struggling Fitzpatrick in week six and was named the started for the following week. However that week seven Smith tore his ACL and was out for the season.

For the 2017 season Smith signed with the Giants and relieved Eli Manning during a week 9 game in the 4th quarter. On November 28, 2017 Smith was named the starter for the upcoming Raider game. His start broke Manning’s 210 game starting streak.  Smith passed for 212 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions, two fumbles and an 89 quarterback rating in the 17-24 loss.

Smith will compete against Paxton Lynch for the backup role to Russell Wilson. Last year the Seahawks kept only two quarterbacks.

In Conclusion

Here is the data on the quarterbacks – QBs into camp. The list has the number of college games that met the criteria, the total number of college games played and the percent that met the criteria. All quarterbacks at 30% or higher are highlighted in color. Quarterbacks without college data either had no games that met the criteria or their college data was not available.

To have over 30% of your college games have a passer rating of 150+ and a  65% or better completion percentage is quite an accomplishment. There are 14 of the 32 starting quarterbacks that met that marker. Yet there are 18 backup quarterbacks that also meet that criteria. Are these potentially good quarterbacks that have not had the opportunity or have had a bad start to their career?

There is a good sized list of well respected NFL quarterbacks that had bad starts to their NFL careers. Here are some that had bad starts.

Player Year Tm GS Att Cmp% TD Int Pick6 Rate Sk W L T
Bart Starr* 1957 GNB 11 215 54.42 8 10 69.3 3 8 0
Fran Tarkenton* 1962 MIN 14 329 49.54 22 25 1 66.9 2 11 1
Terry Bradshaw* 1971 PIT 13 373 54.42 13 22 1 59.7 33 5 8 0
Dan Fouts* 1974 SDG 11 237 48.52 8 13 61.4 12 3 8 0
Warren Moon* 1985 HOU 14 377 53.05 15 19 1 68.5 46 4 10 0
Steve Young* 1986 TAM 14 363 53.72 8 13 65.5 47 2 12 0
Troy Aikman* 1989 DAL 11 293 52.9 9 18 2 55.7 19 0 11 0
Troy Aikman* 1990 DAL 15 399 56.64 11 18 2 66.6 39 7 8 0
Rich Gannon 1990 MIN 12 349 52.15 16 16 1 68.9 34 5 7 0
Peyton Manning 1998 IND 16 575 56.7 26 28 2 71.2 22 3 13 0
Drew Brees 2003 SDG 11 356 57.58 11 15 1 67.5 21 2 9 0
Eli Manning 2004 NYG 7 197 48.22 6 9 55.4 13 1 6 0
Alex Smith 2005 SFO 7 165 50.91 1 11 1 40.8 29 2 5 0
Alex Smith 2007 SFO 7 193 48.7 2 4 1 57.2 17 2 5 0
Matthew Stafford 2009 DET 10 377 53.32 13 20 3 61 24 2 8 0
Kirk Cousins 2013 WAS 3 155 52.26 4 7 1 58.4 5 0 3 0
Jared Goff 2016 LAR 7 205 54.63 5 7 1 63.6 26 0 7 0

In addition to these eighteen there are other backups that were close to the 30% threshold. But you draw the line somewhere. With the 30% mark retrieving 20% of the backups that seemed like a good cutoff. The preseason will be interesting to see how these backups that excelled in the number of games meeting high passer rating and completion percentages perform and which ones make the 53 man roster cuts.

 

Best 1st Down Offense With Best 3rd Down Defense

A followup on my last post on Best First Down Offense For Each Team, I now look at the best 3rd down teams for defense combined with their rank of the previous post of the best offensive formations for achieving first downs.

I  took the total number of third down plays a defense had a stop divided by the number of third down plays they were in to get a 3rd down stop percentage. I then ranked the teams in descending stop percentage. Next I took my rankings from the prior post of teams with the most first downs made for their personnel with the most first downs. I add the two rankings. The lower the sum of the rankings means the team was ranked high in both categories compared to other teams.

The caveat is that the offensive rankings are based on the 2019 team makeup. Whereas the defensive ranking is based on the 2018 team makeup. The site I used for data, Pro-Football-Reference.com, does not have sufficient play visibility for defense by players. Nevertheless it is a great site and highly recommended. For the most part teams are similar to their 2018 personnel.

Here are the ranking results which show the teams that are most all-rounded combining a explosive offense for 1st downs with a strong 3rd down defense. The first and last rank is highlighted. The Rank All is the combined rank. There are a number of ties like first place.

 

Offensive 1st Down Rank Sum 1st Dwns 3rd Down Stops 3rd Down Plays Stop % Stop Rank Sum Of Ranks Rank All Team
4 250 133 197 67.51% 4 8 1 PIT
3 255 141 210 67.14% 5 8 1 CLE
14 225 140 192 72.92% 1 15 3 MIN
7 238 133 202 65.84% 8 15 3 PHI
1 281 119 188 63.30% 16 17 5 LAR
16 214 148 213 69.48% 2 18 6 BAL
13 229 135 206 65.53% 10 23 7 TEN
10 233 130 202 64.36% 14 24 8 LAC
6 241 114 183 62.30% 21 27 9 CAR
23 202 147 220 66.82% 6 29 10 CHI
12 229 114 181 62.98% 17 29 10 TAM
2 259 112 189 59.26% 27 29 10 NOR
17 214 131 202 64.85% 13 30 13 BUF
5 242 116 194 59.79% 25 30 13 KAN
26 187 135 205 65.85% 7 33 15 ARI
18 208 135 212 63.68% 15 33 15 GB
11 229 125 201 62.19% 22 33 15 IND
31 141 145 213 68.08% 3 34 18 NYJ
24 199 120 184 65.22% 12 36 19 SEA
8 237 117 201 58.21% 28 36 19 DAL
19 207 142 227 62.56% 19 38 21 HOU
15 220 133 216 61.57% 23 38 21 SFO
30 149 140 213 65.73% 9 39 23 JAX
28 180 122 187 65.24% 11 39 23 DET
9 236 105 195 53.85% 31 40 25 ATL
21 206 123 197 62.44% 20 41 26 NWE
25 189 134 213 62.91% 18 43 27 DEN
20 207 126 206 61.17% 24 44 28 NYG
22 205 118 223 52.91% 32 54 29 CIN
29 163 117 197 59.39% 26 55 30 WAS
27 181 116 203 57.14% 30 57 31 OAK
32 95 114 196 58.16% 29 61 32 MIA
4080 6468

The data table shown here can be downloaded here – First Downs And Third Downs.

Just eleven random thoughts on the data:

  1. The Steelers ranked 4th in offensive personnel even with the loss of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.
  2. The Browns fans must be excited about the upcoming season. Though Baker Mayfield knows nothing about Giants fans.
  3. The Vikings led the league with getting a stop on 73% of total 3rd down plays.
  4. Would the Patriots have been this successful if they played in another division? They are 26th on the overall ranking.
  5. Miami quarterback Josh Rosen may have the unenviable position of his team once again have the top draft pick with a generational talented quarterback available.
  6. I have optimism for my Giants even though the data looks otherwise. That’s what fans do. The Giants came in 28th on the overall ranking. I am looking forward to a big year from Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate. Shepard is one of only five active wide receivers that had a 61% or better catch percent, 650+ receiving yards and a 6.5+ yards per target average in each of their first three seasons.
  7. Of the top ten teams for offensive first down talent, half of them rank in the  bottom third of the league in 3rd down stop percentage.
  8. The Falcons had the 31st ranked third down stop percent with 54%. Yet their projected starting defensive eleven has seven day 1 or 2 draft picks that were all made by the Falcons. They did not have a day two selection in the 2019 draft and did not take a defensive player until day three. But its not like they have ignored the defense. in prior drafts. The Falcons tied the Bills for the most games where they took the lead during a fourth quarter lead change and wound up losing the game. They each had three games in which that happened. Go figure.
  9. It would be nice to see someone challenge the Patriots this year in the AFC East. Buffalo appears to have the best rounded team to do so among the contenders. Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen made the second most rushing first downs among quarterbacks with 45. He trailed Lamar Jackson by only three. The Bills have one of the best pass defenses. They were tie with the Ravens and the Bears for the lowest opponent yards per pass attempt with a 6.3 yards per attempt. They picked up two tough linemen in the draft – Ed Oliver on defense and Cody Ford on offense.
  10. There are four teams that are in the top ten for either offense (1st downs) or defense (3rd down stops) that fall into the bottom half of the league for the overall rank due to a poor rank in the opposite quality. They are the Jets and the Jaguars who have top defense rankings and the Cowboys and the Falcons who have top offense rankings.
  11. There are four teams that are in the bottom ten for either offense or defense that fall into the top half of the league due to a strong rank in the other category. They are the Bears and the Cardinals who have a strong defense and the Saints and the Chiefs who have a strong offense.

I hope you find the data interesting. Best regards and a reminder that there are only 13 days left to the unofficial start of football – the Hall of Fame Game.

Best First Down Offense For Each Team

Today I look at the best offensive weapons formations for each team to get a first down. The results are a spreadsheet of the top formation and offensive weapons that achieved the most first downs in 2018 for each team. All offensive personnel are included except for the offensive line.

The team makeup is for 2019. So if a player switched teams his 2018 1st down count is used but for his 2019 team. Rookies are not included with one exception. I included Kyler Murray as he will most likely be the starting 2019 quarterback. For his first down totals I used the average for starting quarterbacks as he was quite the mobile quarterback. Here are the results by team with a color grouping. I also show the personnel and have in bold font the teams that use two running backs in their best first down formation.

Rank Team Sum 1st Dwns Personnel
1 LAR 281 1-1
2 NOR 259 1-1
3 CLE 255 2-1
4 PIT 250 2-1
5 KAN 242 2-1
6 CAR 241 1-1
7 PHI 238 1-1
8 DAL 237 1-1
9 ATL 236 1-1
10 LAC 233 2-1
11 IND 229 1-1
12 TAM 229 1-2
13 TEN 229 2-1
14 MIN 225 1-1
15 SFO 220 2-1
16 BAL 214 2-1
17 BUF 214 2-0
18 GB 208 1-1
19 HOU 207 1-1
20 NYG 207 1-2
21 NWE 206 1-1
22 CIN 205 1-2
23 CHI 202 1-1
24 SEA 199 2-1
25 DEN 189 2-0
26 ARI 187 2-1
27 OAK 181 2-1
28 DET 180 1-1
29 WAS 163 2-2
30 JAX 149 2-1
31 NYJ 141 2-1
32 MIA 95 1-1

Some observances. These have to do specifically with achieving first down.

  1. Fifteen teams are most loaded offensively with a formation of two running backs. Almost half the league. Two contributing factors for this are (1) Most first downs are achieved in short yardage situations and more teams tend to run in those situations and (2) the proliferation of dual threat running backs.
  2. Only five teams fail to have a player that earned 50+ first downs in 2018. The teams with their highest first down players are BAL (QB Lamar Jackson – 48), BUF (QB Josh Allen – 45), JAX (WR Dede Westbrook – 40), NYJ (WR Robby Anderson – 30) and MIA (WR Kenny Stills – 27) . The last three were also the bottom three of the ranked teams. However Baltimore and Buffalo were mid-range at 16 and 17 respectively. They were aided immensely by  the top two dual threat quarterbacks for first downs.
  3. The LA Rams are way out in the lead in first down players. Their 1-1 formation earned 281 first downs in 2018. The second place team, New Orleans, earned 22 less first downs.
  4. The top three players for first downs were all dual threat backs with Ezekiel Elliot at one with 98. He was followed right behind by Christian McCaffrey and Todd Gurley both with 97. The next backs were Saquon Barkley (85) and James Conner (82).
  5. The top receivers were DeAndre Hopkins with 81 and Julio Jones with 80.
  6. Eight teams have two play-makers in their top 1st-down formation that had 50+ first downs. They are CIN, GB, IND, KAN, LAC, NOR, PHI and PIT. The Bengals are the lowest ranked of the eight at 22.  They are not far from the Packers at 18. All the rest of the eight teams fall in the top 11.
  7. Three teams have three play-makers with 50+ first downs in their top formation. They are CLE, LAR and SF. The Browns and the Rams were in the top there teams. However the 49ers were down at 15. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo only played three games and had a low first down count.
  8. The Giants were seriously hurt be the Beckham trade. They rank 20th. If Beckham were still on the team they would have ranked 5th. Dallas benefited big by the Amari Cooper trade moving up to eighth. The Raiders benefited with Antonio Brown but only moved up to 27th. They would probably been on the bottom right above Miami.
  9. As I said the 2019 rookies are not counted in this analysis. Some teams hoping to get a boost in 2019 from the draft with their rank and 1st round pick are the Lions (28th rank – TE TJ Hockenson), Broncos (25th – TE Noah Fant), Raiders (27th – RB Josh Jacobs), Ravens (16th – WR Marquise Brown) and the Patriots (21st – WR N’Keal Harry).

Here is the spreadsheet that contains the top formation for all 32 teams and the above table – First Down Weapons. The dual threat players are listed twice for their receiving and rushing first downs.

PS: This is a break from the series I was running. I really fell behind on the series and will see if I continue that series. I got sidetracked on this topic.

Less Than 22 days and 22 year old Quarterback Phenoms.

There are less than 22 days until the 2019 Hall Of Fame Games and the unofficial start of the 2019 season. Today I look at quarterback phenoms in the NFL 22 years and younger. Eight quarterbacks in NFL history by the age of 22  met all five of the following conditions in a season

  1. Started 5+ games,
  2. had a passer rating of 70+,
  3. averaged 175+ yards total offense per game  started,
  4. averaged 7+ yards per pass attempt, and
  5. averaged 1.6 total touchdowns per game started.

Three are retired and all of those three are in the NFL Hall of Fame. They are Dan Marino, Fran Tarkenton and Y.A. Tittle. Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston is the only quarterback to meet the criteria for two seasons at 22 years or younger.

Eight Young QB Phenoms
Player Year Age Tm GS Pass Yds Pass TD Rate Pass Y/A Pass Y/G Rush Yds Rush TD Rush Y/G TotOff TotOff / Game Tot Tds / Game
Deshaun Watson 2017 22 HOU 6 1699 19 103 8.33 242.7 269 2 38.4 1852 309 3.50
Jameis Winston 2016 22 TAM 16 4090 28 86.1 7.21 255.6 165 1 10.3 4016 251 1.81
Marcus Mariota 2015 22 TEN 12 2818 19 91.5 7.62 234.8 252 2 21 2812 234 1.75
Jameis Winston 2015 21 TAM 16 4042 22 84.2 7.56 252.6 213 6 13.3 4065 254 1.75
Robert Griffin 2012 22 WAS 15 3200 20 102.4 8.14 213.3 815 7 54.3 3798 253 1.80
Cam Newton 2011 22 CAR 16 4051 21 84.5 7.84 253.2 706 14 44.1 4497 281 2.19
Dan Marino* 1983 22 MIA 9 2210 20 96 7.47 200.9 45 2 4.1 2175 242 2.44
Fran Tarkenton* 1961 21 MIN 10 1997 18 74.7 7.13 142.6 308 5 22 2305 231 2.30
Y.A. Tittle* 1948 22 BCL 12 2522 16 90.3 8.73 180.1 157 4 11.2 2679 223 1.67

Provided by NFCBeast.com
Generated 7/15/2019.

 

The quarterbacks eligible to make this list in 2019 based on age are as follows.

Lamar Jackson (BAL) just missed the list in his rookie 2018 season due only to averaging 1.57 touchdowns per game started. He only had six passing touchdowns in seven games started and 16 games played. You can add in his five rushing touchdowns but it was still not enough. The average touchdown per game started by players on the list was 2.13. The Ravens picked up some weapons to help bring up his touchdowns in the draft with first round pick receiver Marquise Brown and third round pick Miles Boykin. Brown was 21st in the nation in receiving touchdowns last year with ten. Boykin was a red zone threat last year making touchdowns on five of his nine red zone receptions. Boykin had eight for the year. His streak of six consecutive games with a touchdown is the longest by a Notre Dame wide receiver since Will Fuller in 2014.

Sam Darnold (NYJ) missed on yards per attempt with a 6.92 and in touchdowns per games with only a 1.38. Darnold’s 6.92 yards per attempt was 25th among 32 quarterbacks that started 8+ games. According to Pro Football Focus Darnold’s 42.3 passer rating on deep throws ranked 32nd. His 17 passing touchdowns was 24th in the league and he had only one rushing touchdown.  On a positive note receiver Robby Anderson’s 15 yards per reception was good for 22nd among 89 receivers with 6+ game starts. During the last four weeks of the season Anderson caught 23 passes for 366 yards and an 8.62 yards per target.  That yards per target would have been 32nd out of 89 receivers for the year.

Josh Rosen had a bad year in Arizona. The only target he made on this list was starting 5+ games. Unfortunately he is walking into what may be just as bad or worse a situation in Miami. Pro Football Focus ranked the Dolphin’s offensive line as 32nd heading into the 2019 season. To go with that Bleacher Report ranked the Dolphin’s receiving corp as 30th going into 2019.

Three 2018 Rookies That Missed The List
Player Year Age Tm GS Pass Yds Pass TD Rate Y/A Pass Y/G Rush Yds Rush TD Rush Y/G TotOff Tot Off / Game Total TD / Game
Lamar Jackson 2018 21 BAL 7 1201 6 84.5 7.06 75.1 695 5 43.4 1825 261 1.57
Sam Darnold 2018 21 NYJ 13 2865 17 77.6 6.92 220.4 138 1 10.6 2799 215 1.38
Josh Rosen 2018 21 ARI 13 2278 11 66.7 5.8 162.7 138 0 9.9 2096 161 0.85

Provided by NFCBeast.com
Generated 7/15/2019.

 

In 2018 at college Dwayne Haskins led the nation in passing touchdowns with fifty. He averaged 3.6 touchdowns per game which was tops in the nation.  However Haskin’s red zone touchdown conversion rate of 32.5% was not as good as a number of other quarterbacks. He was beat out in the red zone conversion by Trace McSorley, Justice Hansen, Kyler Murray, Will Grier and Tyree Jackson. Haskins was also first in passing yards and in 10+ yard passing plays.

An area of concern is that Haskins has only one year as a starter in college. In the rankings of support for Haskins, PFF ranked the Washington offensive line as 14th and Bleacher Report ranked the Washington receiving corp as 32nd. There is also competition from Case Keenum and Colt McCoy to win the starting quarterback role. In 2017 Keenum had the eighth best passer rating (98.3), the second best completion percentage (67.6%) and the sixth best TD to Interception ratio (3.14). After an award winning college career McCoy was drafted in the third round of the 2010 draft by the Browns. He has been on the Redskins the last five seasons and head coach Jay Gruden likes his competitive spirit, knowledge of their system and ability to make all the throws.

Kyler Murray excelled at all the criteria for this list. Murray was first in the nation in passing yards per attempt at 11.6. He had the second best passer rating (199.2) and best among draft prospects. Murray was first in the nation in total offense per game at 383 yards. He was tie with Haskins for first in touchdowns responsible for with 54.

For the supporting cast the Cardinals were abysmal in 2018. Looking at 2019 PFF rated the Cardinals Offensive line as 30th. To help the added free agent guard J.R. Sweezy, traded for right tackle Marcus Gilbert and drafted sixth round center Lamont Gaillard. Gilbert was rated above average by PFF for 2018. Galliard is a three year starter with 42 career starts. He won the Georgia “Own the Trenches” award following spring drills in 2017. This on what is regarded as one of the best offensive lines in college football. “Tougher than old brisket and nasty as a finisher” – draft profile nfl.com

Bleacher Report ranked the Cardinals 2019 receiver corp as 26th. I think they look better than that. They did add four offensive weapons from the draft in wide receivers Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, Keesean Johnson and tight end Caleb Wilson. From a 2018 receiving yards team market share perspective they got the two best in Isabella (47%) and Butler (42%). Butler was third in the nation in average receiving yards (22 yards). Isabella was second in the nation in 10+ receiving yards plays. In 20+ receiving yards plays they got the top three receivers – 1st KeeSean Johnson (26) and tied for second Hakeem Butler (25) and Andy Isabella (25). A whopping 75% of Butler’s receptions made 1st down. That was second best among 32 wide receiver draft prospects with a 30% receiving yards team market share. Then you add the fact that the Cardinals have 11 time Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald and you should have a decent receiving corp.

Daniel Jones was a walk-on at Duke University. Jones did not put up numbers to imply that he could make this list. However he did not have a strong supporting cast around him at Duke. Not a single Duke player other than Jones has been drafted over the past three years. As reported by Pro Football Focus Jones had the most dropbacks under pressure than any of the other top quarterbacks in the class. This blurb from clutchpoints.com

Jones was the only player from the 2018 Duke team to be drafted. His receivers dropped 9.2% of his passes, the second-highest rate among quarterbacks in the class. His offensive line was one of the worst graded units in college football, per Pro Football Focus, and finished 83rd in the nation in pressure rate allowed.

Jones is much like a more mobile version of Eli Manning. He is a pocket passer with a quick release, good arm, good accuracy, fearless, tough, strong work ethic and good teammate. The mobile part showed with the eighth highest rushing yards (319) among draft quarterbacks with 2000+ passing yards and the ninth highest yards per carry at 3.1 yards.

So we have a quarterback make this list once every two decades, followed by three decades of none and then the 2010s see a quarterback make the list five out of the nine years. The last one being in 2017. In 2019 there are six eligible viable quarterbacks. The trend is that at least one of these six will make the list.